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Capt. Richard W. Musgrove 














Capt. Richard W. Musgrove 






While the early portion relates to father's boyhood and to 
incidents occurring in Bristol in those days, the sketch is devoted 
largely to events during his term of nearly four years in the Union 
Army. It was his intention to publish this autobiography during his 
lifetime, and in the manuscript there are many indications of paragraphs 
to be rewritten, with additions, and of statements to be verified. 
Although we have found it impossible to make all the additions which 
marginal notes indicate, we are endeavoring to publish it as nearly as 
possible as the author intended. 





I awoke to the realities of this mundane sphere in Bristol, N. H., 
on the 21st day of November, 1840. It was not an event of great mo- 
ment to the world at large but to me it was an event of importance. 
I am told that my early years gave promise of no remarkable career in 
any respect and so I hope I have attained the full expectation of my 

My recollections cover the time from 1843, when I stood by my 
mother's knees and listened to a discussion by her and the Rev. Natha- 
niel W. Aspinwall, about the Millerite craze that was then sweeping 
over the country, and about its disastrous effects on the churches in 
Bristol and the community in general. I did not take in the full scope of 
the discussion, but I clearly discerned that something terrible was 
abroad in the land, and, indeed, that a calamity had visited Bristol; and 
the picture then formed on the retina of my memory has remained with 
all its vivid colors through life. 

The chief topic of discussion in those days was the immediate com- 
ing of Christ and the end of the world. Large numbers of people 
completely lost their reasoning powers. They not only believed in the 
end of the world at a time only a few months in advance, but they con- 
tended that a belief in this doctrine was essential to salvation when the 
end should come. Some went so far as to prepare robes in which to 
ascend to glory. The chief effect of this craze was to unfit people 
for the every-day work of life. Business was neglected, crops were left 
ungathered in the field, and many were brought to suffer for their im- 
providence. David Trumbull of Hill was one of the leading spirits 
in the Millerite craze in this section. In the fall of 1843 he had a 
large field of potatoes that he declined to dig because he should not need 
them. One day Hezekiah Sargent, a neighbor, asked permission to 
dig a few. "Yes," said Trumbull, "dig all you wish. I only want a 
few to last me the short time I shall stay here." Sargent gathered the 
crop. Time wore on and Trumbull needed more potatoes than he had 
put into his cellar and called on Sargent to help him out, when Sargent 
coolly replied he did not know as he had any to spare. 


Methodist Chapel and Church 

Closely allied with this in point of time is my recollection of town 
meetings at the old Methodist chapel on the east side of North Main 
street at the base of Sugar hill. As my home was about midway be- 
tween the chapel and Central Square, I could but notice the constant 
stream of humanity that travelled between the chapel and the square 
on election days, and my curiosity was rewarded with the information 
that after a ballot was deposited each man made a trip to the square 
for a drink. At that time liquors were sold in the grocery stores of the 
town, at the hotel, and in saloons. 

I presume it was owing to home influences that I had a veneration 
for the old chapel and I wondered that so many of the boys delighted 
to club the old building, that some threw stones at the windows at 
every opportunity, and that one boy on a Fourth of July, to prove that 

Methodist Chapel built in 1814 

he could fire a piece of paper through an inch board, drove the wadding 
of his gun through one of the doors of the chapel. 

This chapel under the hill was an ancient relic when I was a boy. 
I well remember its interior for I attended meetings and lectures there. 
Between the two doors, next to the front walls, were a few seats eleva- 
ted above the rest, which accommodated the singers. When the people 
determined to modernize the chapel by heating it during service, a box 
stove was located between the front seats and the pulpit in the east end. 
A plank platform was hung from the ceiling over the singers' seats, and 
on this the chimney was built. A funnel extended from the stove to 
the chimney. There was then so little room above the heads of the 
singers that they had to move about cautiously, else their heads would 
come in contact with the stove pipe. The chapel had no gallery— there 


was no room for one; the pulpit was reached by three or four steps only 
and there were no box pews, only common slips. The society was too 
poor to have these things, and so by force of circumstances the chapel 
was quite modern in some of its features. 

When I was a boy the people had not ceased to talk of how Rev. 
George Storrs had been mobbed within the walls of this chapel because 
he dared to speak against slavery. Indeed the agitation of the question 
of slavery, increasing as it was year by year, would not let the recollec- 
tion of such incidents die out, and what I heard about the doings of the 
mob made such an impression on my mind that it almost seems to me 
now that I was an eye witness of it, though it occurred three years 
before I was born. 

After the Methodists ceased to use the chapel on the completion 
of the new chapel on Spring street in 1839, it was used by the Free 
Baptists for some years, and for lyceums, lectures, and, till 1853, by the 
town for town meetings. But the old chapel must go. Rev. Ebenezer 
Fisk bought it and the material went to help build the Free Baptist 
church which now stands on Summer street. I watched the tearing down 
of the venerable and venerated building with much interest. Among the 
workmen were the Nelson brothers, then in the prime of early manhood 
and I marveled at the exhibitions of strength as these young giants of 
the farm put their shoulders to the work. Now where the church once 
stood is the garden connected with the residence occupied for many 
years by Mr. and Mrs. E. K. Pray. 

The immense Balm of Gilead tree that stands a few rods south of 
this site on the same side of the street was set out when I was a boy 
as I well remember, from the fact that I was given a shaking by the 
owner one day for presuming to lean against the sapling, and thus 
endanger its life. 

I was a constant attendant at the Methodist chapel on Spring street 
when a boy. I usually sat on one of the front seats near the door, and 
in summer time was always barefooted. My view through the open 
door extended down the Pemigewasset valley, and the beautiful land- 
scape spread out before me is more distinctly remembered now than any 
sermon of those days. I remember some Sunday school concerts of 
that period, in one of which twelve men represented Joseph and his 
brethren. Joseph was put into a pit, only there was no pit and so in- 
stead he was placed in the rear part of the stage in full view of the audi- 
ence, and afterward sold to the Egyptians. At that concert I sang 
Coronation, and Hon. N. S. Berry, later the honored governor of the 
state, who presided, accompanied me, singing the base. 

At that time a stage was built over the altar extending to the front 
seats. They were rough joists laid from the altar rail to the front seats, 


and on these loose boards were laid, which creaked every time any one 
passed over them. 

The Sunday services of those days were preaching at 10:30; Sunday 
school at 12 or a little before; preaching at 1 o'clock and prayer-meeting 
at 5 or later. I was expected to attend all these services and nothing 
less than a real sickness was sufficient to allow my staying at home. In 
those days the farmers on the hill farms sent large delegations to all 

Methodist Chapel built in 1839 

the churches of the village, and the horse-shed meetings during the 
intermissions were largely attended, when the farmers gave and gathered 
the news, discussed agriculture and sometimes politics. A family picnic 
on Sunday on the shore of the lake would have shocked the whole 
community; and even a day spent resting at the lake instead of at 
church was rarely known. 

Friction matches were first introduced into Bristol at a muster 
held on what is now the Favor Locke farm in the west part of the town 


about 1837. They were made singly, about as thick as a match to-day 
but wider. On both sides for half an inch from the tip there was 
phosphorus. The match was lighted by placing it between a piece of 
sandpaper folded about it and suddenly withdrawing it while pressing 
the sandpaper against the match in the hand. About 50 of these 
matches and a piece of sandpaper were put up in a box and sold for 25 
cents. Their appearance made quite a sensation and the peddler 
offering them for sale did a rushing business. Strange as it may seem 
some did not look with favor on this innovation, and when a boy, even 
after their usefulness had been proved, I heard some of the old people 
speak of them as a curse. One of the objections urged against them 
was that a man could so easily set fire to a building and then make his 

Stage Coaches and Taverns 

I always took great interest, as did all the boys, in the arrival of the 
stagecoach, loaded as it generally was with passengers. The driver who 
could swing his long whip and strike a barking dog with stunning force, 
sending him howling in another direction, or who could drive with great 
skill, making a graceful curve to the door of the tavern, was a man that 
all the boys envied. 

The daily arrival of the stagecoach was a great event. It brought 
the mails, consisting of a few letters and a very few weekly papers, and, 
what was of greater consequence, all the current news of the day. 
Bristol had its unemployed and leisure class then as now, and all these 
were at the tavern when the stage arrived. The stage was here but half 
an hour or so, but the crowd lingered long after its departure and 
enlarged on the bits of news dropped hurriedly by the driver and the 
chance passengers. On the arrival of the coach, the driver and passen- 
gers filed into the tavern, took a drink of grog, then took seats at the 
dining tables and helped themselves to the food in waiting. During 
the noon hour the horses were changed and then the coach proceeded 
on its way. 

Commencing in July, 1821, a stagecoach passed through Bristol 
twice a week on its way from Haverhill to Concord. This left Sinclair's 
tavern in Haverhill on Mondays and Fridays at 4 o'clock a. m., and 
arrived at Wilson Stickney's in Concord about 5 in the afternoon. 
On its return, it left Concord on Tuesdays and Saturdays at about the 
same hour for Haverhill, where it connected with stages for the 
northern part of Vermont and Canada. 

In 1833, Bristol had three mails from the south and the same 
number from the north each week. Up to 1835 two horses were 


sufficient for all the travel, but this year four horses were attached to 
each stagecoach, and the coach made daily trips and so continued till 
the advent of the railroad in 1848. 

These were the days that the writer remembers. They were 
considered great days for Bristol, and they were. Sometimes two and 
even three coaches were required to accommodate all the travel. Those 
coaches going south usually stopped at Prescott's tavern on the east 
side of South Main street for dinner, while those going north, arriving 
before the dinner hour, proceeded to Hoyt's tavern in Bridgewater, 
now Elm Lawn, where dinner was served. Prescott's hotel or tavern, 
as it was then called, was in its day the chief hotel of the village when 

Tavern Sign of Peter Sleeper, who opened the first tavern in 
Bristol Village, near the junction of High and Cross Streets 

the village boasted of three or four. It was sometimes called the 
Washington tavern from the fact that on the tavern sign that swung 
from an arm of a post on the southwest corner was painted a crude 
picture of Washington. In December, 1849, this tavern was destroyed 
by fire and was not rebuilt. 


The business brought to the taverns by the stagecoaches consti- 
tuted but a small part of the business at the taverns. In those days 
every farmer raised large herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, made 
maple sugar, butter and cheese and other articles, for the market, and 
about the only market was Boston. Consequently in the fall of the 
year the roads were fairly choked with the cattle and sheep driven to 
market, and in the winter every farmer made a trip to Boston to dispose 
of the surplus products of the farm. The team almost universally used 
was the pung, or pod, drawn by two horses. In this was loaded the 
poultry, butter and cheese, maple sugar, dried apples; yarn, socks, and 
mittens, spun and knit by the thrifty housewife; sheep's pelts, furs as 
the product of the hunt, and many other articles. Almost invariably 
the load was topped off with one or more dressed hogs exposed to the 
weather. A goodly number of neighbors often made these trips to- 
gether, and when sleighing was good a vast number of teams were on 
the road at the same time. All these brought business to the tavern 
keepers, for when night came all must find a place to sleep and some- 
times 75 men or more passed the night at Prescott's tavern, alone. 
And the tavern keepers grew rich for those days on a large number of 
small fees. Ten cents was the common charge for the privilege of 
sleeping on the barroom floor or the hay loft, while a larger fee was 
received from those who occupied the few beds that the taverns 
afforded. And more than this was the income that the landlord derived 
from the sale of grog. A man could eat on his trip the frozen food 
brought from home, but he needed his grog several times a day, and 
this he must buy of the landlord. 

The Railroad 

Then came the railroad, and while that was building we crossed 
the falls, before the bridges were constructed, on planks placed from 
stone to stone. Some of the older boys assisted me at such times, 
and upon reaching the south bank, after looking into the rapidly flowing 
stream from our frail foot bridge, we took a long breath of relief. 
We watched the tearing down and removal of the boarding-house in 
front of the three-story mill, now a one-story pulp mill, to make way for 
the road to the station, and listened with horror to the detailed account 
of the death of the two Irishmen blown up by the premature explo- 
sion of powder in the hardpan just north of the engine house. 

The three-story woolen mill alluded to above was built in 1836. 
The present pulp mill shows the ground size of the structure. The 
road to this mill was down the south bank of the river from Prescott's 
tavern, or more strictly speaking, from the south end of the carriage 


house connected with the tavern, from about where now stands the two- 
story wooden building north of the road that leads to the crutch factory, 
then a grist mill. Thence the road proceeded down the stream over the 
land now occupied by H. H. Hutchinson's saw mill. 

The woolen mill was three stories high, with a double deck attic 
and basement, after the style of those days. It had projecting entries 
in the top of which was located a large wheel provided with pulley 
blocks by which heavy articles were raised to the several floors. 
The roof was surmounted with a belfry in which hung the bell that now 
does service at the engine house. A boarding-house stood in front, 
where now is the highway to the railroad station. This mill was 
operated about a year by the Bristol Manufacturing company, in the 
manufacture of cassimeres. The supply of wool was purchased at 
home, but cotton and other supplies were brought by teams from 
Boston. This company failed, and Henry Kidder and Levi Bartlett 
operated the mill later, but in all only about five years, after which it 
stood idle for many years. 

The mill at the depot being unoccupied became as much a target 
for the boys as the old chapel on the turnpike. The lights of glass 
that escaped the stones thrown by the youngsters were very few. 
They there put into practice the precept taught at school, "If at first 
you don't succeed, try, try again." 

The boys roamed at will through the spacious rooms from the 
top attic to the basement, and even into the wheelpit, and into the 
old overshot wheel itself, where a dozen boys would climb on the inside 
to near the top. The wheel would commence to turn and give the- boys 
a ride till the center of gravity was again at the bottom. The press- 
boards left in the old mill supplied the people of the town for years 
with "pasteboard" from which to make fans, and gome of the boys 
ventured out upon the roof perilously near the eaves high above the 
seething waters, and there gathered in some of the lead on the roof 
for their bullet moulds. 



The old red schoolhouse on Lake street was the only one in this 
village when it went up in smoke one night in the fall of 1848. Here 
scholars of all ages were gathered together, and all kinds of books 
were used and all kinds of teachers ruled, some with the rod of iron. 
Reuben Rollins ruled here, as well as elsewhere where he taught, with 
the rod, but did not always come off victorious. There were several 
young men in the school nearly as heavy as he, and on one occasion, 
when he attempted to chastise one with a rod, he was leveled to the 
floor with a stick of wood. Others came to the assistance of the 
scholar, while the teacher fought his battle alone. When the teacher 
had sufficiently recovered to appear in court a few days later, there 
was a trial at the Prescott tavern, but only one scholar of the three or 
four wanted appeared; the rest had gone west to grow up with the 
country, and all became prominent railroad men. 

From the ashes of one schoolhouse arose three — one on the site 
of the old; one on Summer street, later the residence of R. S. Danforth, 
and one between South Main and High streets, now the home of 
Benjamin C. Gray. If some of the unruly kind went west, others 
grew to take their places when other teachers took the place of Rollins, 
and so when S. S. Preston taught on Summer street, he, like Rollins, 
had trouble if not of the same kind. An overheated schoolroom 
always gave this poor man the nosebleed, and so some of the scholars 
delighted to crowd the stoves with wood during the noon hour, with 
the sure effect of having an exhibition in the afternoon. For a meager 
compensation this poor man worked hard seven days in the week. 
He taught school five days and a half, and the rest of the time he was 
scouring the woods for good stout withes to use on his scholars. 
On one occasion one of the older boys drew on the wall of the school- 
room the picture of a man having the nosebleed and wrote under it the 
name, "Old Preston." When Preston entered the room and saw the 
fine work of the artist, his wrath was excited. He went at once to the 
vacant second entry, where he stored his withes, and selected his 
best — one more than ten feet long. This he drew over the hot coals 


and then called in the scholars — for, strange as it may seem, not a 
scholar was in the room when he entered. He brought the offender 
into the floor, removed his coat and vest and applied the rod, gradually 
walking up to his victim as he used up the withe. This the culprit 
endured without flinching, but a few days later when he again stood in 
the floor for another breach of the rules and was ordered to hold out 
his hand for a ferruling, he refused, and the master promptly struck 
him on the side of his head with the ferrule, laying him senseless on the 
floor. Such scenes as these would not be tolerated in any school 
to-day, but they then only afforded food for gossip. 

The young folks of this village fifty or sixty years ago, like those 
of to-day, delighted in taking part in theatricals. The hall where 
these entertainments were usually held was in the attic of White's 
block which at that time had a pitched roof. The hall was small, 
lighted by two windows in the west gable end and poorly ventilated. 
I remember attending there a representation of scenes from the life of 
William Tell, when the apple was shot from the head of the son by the 
said William. Moody O. Edgerly was William Tell, and Fred H. 
Bartlett the son. Others, I think, were William C. Lovejoy, M. W. 
White, Charles R Currier, and Charles Chase. The gay uniforms and 
costumes were simply entrancing. The hall was densely packed, and 
the orchestra found it impossible to keep their violins at the proper 
pitch in the varying temperature. To admit a breath of fresh air the 
windows in the west end, all there were, would be raised and as often 
as this was done some of the strings of the violins would snap, which 
did not add to the quality of the music. 

At another time a traveling showman gave an entertainment 
here with a magic lantern. This lantern was the predecessor of the 
modern stereopticon, and was thought to be a great affair. The young 
folks roared at the man in bed asleep who swallowed rat after rat as 
they walked into his mouth. The proprietor of this show was Wm. 
Bebee Lightning, an Englishman, a local preacher, who had formerly 
deserted from the British army. He was entertained at my father's 
home, and as my father, when a boy, was a deserter* from the British 
navy, two congenial spirits met. I listened with great interest to 
recitals of their experience in the British service and shuddered as 
they talked of the "floggings" they had witnessed, then common in 
that service as a form of discipline. 

White's hall was the headquarters of the Sons of Temperance. 
They sought to interest the boys in the subject of temperance and 
had meetings for their special benefit, but unfortunately the janitor 

* See chapter at the end. 


of the hall was austere and severe in dealing with the boys and did 
more to drive them from the hall than the most attractive program did 
to hold them. I remember one occasion when a goodly number of 
boys had gathered early, one cut up a prank that set all the rest 
laughing, and the janitor bore down on them so hard that the boys 
vacated the hall in a body, and when the speaker arrived, he found 
only empty seats. 

This same man, a trustee of the Methodist church, was delegated 
by the official board of the church to stop the playing of ball in front 
of the church on Spring street. The next day the boys while playing 
"three-year-old-cat" were visited by this official, who took down the 
names of all engaged in the play and then threatened dire punishment 
on any who ventured to play there again. He stopped the game but 
secured the ill will of the boys, which was not necessary. 

Career of John S. Emmons 

In 1848 the career of John S. Emmons threw this section into 
great excitement and sense of insecurity. John S. Emmons was the 
son of Aaron Emmons, a poor but hardworking, honest man, who 
resided on Spring street, where later was erected the Methodist church. 
At one time he carried on the business of a clothier, where now is the 
grist mill of C. N. Merrill & Son on Central street, where he had a 
carding machine which carded the wool into rolls for the women to spin. 
He also had a fulling mill to finish the cloth after it had been woven 
at their homes, and several looms where weaving was done, an entering 
wedge of an industry that was to drive the weaving of all cloth from 
the home to the mill. Mr. Emmons later lived in the Kelley tavern 
house, later known as the Fisk house and now owned by Dr. J. W. 
Coolidge, at the corner of Central square and Summer street, and here 
he resided in 1848. In 18431 the son, John S., forged the name of his 
uncle, John Emmons, of Alexandria, to a note of $100. He was 
arrested by Deputy Sheriff Jeremiah H. Prescott, and in the evening of 
the same day went with the sheriff to his home to obtain additional 
clothing. While there he was allowed to visit a chamber unattended, 
from whence he promptly took to the woods by way of an open 
window. In^ May following he was again arrested and lodged in the 
jail at Haverhill. From this institution he soon after escaped and 
went to Massachusetts, where he pursued a career of crime, and served 
short terms of imprisonment in Lowell and Cambridge. In 1848, 
he returned to the scenes of his boyhood and was the terror of this 
whole section for months. He lived in the woods and at night made 


visits to the stores and cellars of this village and appropriated whatever 
he desired to supply his larder, besides milking cows in the pasture and 
taking produce from the gardens. Locks and bars were insufficient to 
keep him out, and hardly a day passed that did not add to the tales of 
his depredations and the excitement of the people. We well remember 
how carefully every door and window was barred at night and how 
often our sleep was disturbed with dreams of the desperado. His 
boldness was proverbial. On one occasion the merchants of the 
village agreed to spend the night in their stores and watch for 
Emmons. At that time J. N. Darling had a clothing store, where 
now is Fowler's drug store, and Joseph Rollins a grocery store, next on 
the north. Soon after nine o'clock, Mr. Rollins saw a man at work 
on the shutters of Darling's store, and thinking it was Mr. Darling 
closing up for the night he walked along and attempted conversation, 
when John S. Emmons hastily left and disappeared over the bridge. 

That summer the village school which I attended was in a hall 
in the second story of what is now a double tenement house at the cor- 
ner of South Main and Beech streets. I well remember how the 
scholars were thrown into great excitement early one afternoon by 
carriages dashing past filled with armed men. Other armed men 
crossed the bridge on foot and made their way into the fields toward 
the woods in the west. It seemed that Emmons had made his 
appearance in the open at the base of Round Top, and this fact 
coming to the knowledge of the sheriff, he promptly appropriated 
the arms of the militia company in this village, and every man fit 
for duty as he appeared in Central Square was commanded in the 
name of the state to take a musket and become one of a sheriff's posse 
for the capture of the outlaw. Those in teams were dispatchd to 
Smith's river and stationed along the road on the north bank of that 
stream, while those on foot were to follow him from the north. 
In fact he was surrounded and his capture was thought to be sure. 
Emmons saw his pursuers after him and made his way to the south, 
keeping a safe distance ahead but occasionally sitting down to rest and 
watch his pursuers. Finally he reached Smith's river and made a 
break for the high bridge over that stream, where a guard of two men 
had been posted. These two men saw Emmons approaching and 
promptly took refuge under the bridge, while the fugitive crossed the 
bridge unmolested and disappeared in the woods on the side of 
Periwig mountain. The pursuit was called off, and the sheriff's 
posse returned to town. 

Only a short time after this Josiah S. Ingalls, who was one of 
the sheriff's posse and a former schoolmate of Emmons, was working 
alone one evening in the cabinet shop of Washington Ingalls, which 


stood where is now the planing mill of B. L. & Albro Wells, when 
in walked Emmons. He took a seat as if entirely at ease and for an 
hour talked of village affairs, of his old schoolmates and of his 
escapades. He said he was back in Bristol village on the evening of 
the day he was pursued and laughed over the sudden disappearance 
of the guard at the high bridge. This interview over, he coolly turned 
the collar of his coat over his face and walked out into the darkness. 
Soon after this, Emmons was arrested in Keene for some crime 
committed in that section and was sentenced to the New Hampshire 
state prison for five years and ten days from April 4, 1851. After 
having served this term he again made his way to Massachusetts, 
where he continued his career of crime, and report said that he died 
in the Massachusetts state prison at Charlestown 

In 1850 there were many small manufacturing industries in 
this village. On the south side of the river there were the grist mill 
operated by Trueworthy G. Currier, and the saw mill operated when 
there was sufficient water. On the north side were the tannery of 
Warren White, the Ingalls wheelwright shop and Abbott Lovejoy's 
edge tool manufactory, with a little mill for grinding black lead 
in the rear. Where is now the grist mill on Central street was a 
clothing mill, and where is now the shoe shop was the planing mill 
of House & Locke. On the river bank on the east corner of what is 
now the library lot were the potash works of Ichabod C. Bartlett, 
where large quantities of ashes were purchased, the lye extracted, 
boiled down and sent to market in a solid state. Near "Brown's 
bridge" on Pleasant street was Brown's tannery, then going to decay. 
Here Mr. Brown had operated a tannery for many years, ground his 
bark by wind power and done all the rest of the work by hand. 
On Lake street, near the junction of Willow, Joshua Kendall had 
erected a saw mill, and to this place Mr. Brown removed, converting 
the saw mill into a tannery. Adjoining was the pill-box shop of Tucker 
& Weymouth, where vast quantities of wooden pill-boxes were turned 
out. Later, a satinet factory occupied the site of the present pulp mill 
on Willow street. At North Bristol the saw mills, grist mill, cabinet- 
shops and woolen mill made a busy community that rivaled Bristol vil- 
lage. Another busy mart of manufacture and trade was at Moore's mill 
and still another at the foot of the mountain, now known as South 

A business that contributed to the general prosperity of the place 
was the shoe-shop of Warren White in the second story of White's 
block. Here a dozen men were sometimes employed making boots 
and shoes for the wholesale trade. Among the workmen was a Mr. 


Webster, a deaf mute. He was a fine workman but irascible and 
sensitive, and he therefore placed his bench in a corner as far as 
possible from the other workmen. The rats, in their fancy for paste, 
were a constant annoyance. One morning a dead rat was taken from 
a trap by one of the workmen and then placed on Webster's bench 
as though in the act of eating paste. A few minutes later Webster 
walked in; he saw the rat, and fire flashed from his eye. Catching up 
the iron poker, he approached his bench stealthily and then dealt 
a blow that sent the rat and the paste pot flying in a thousand 
pieces about the room, and brought out shouts of laughter from the 
other workmen, and a pantomime of wrath from Webster. 

Here, too, Samuel Heath, another workman, was the victim of 
his fellow workmen. Kerosene oil, at $1.25 per gallon, was then 
making its first appearance, and Mr. White had secured some with the 
necessary lamps for the accommodation of his help. Mr. Heath 
purchased a lamp and enough oil to fill it, and after viewing the clear 
fine light with much satisfaction, he set the lamp one side till he 
should finish his work for the day. In the meantime someone 
substituted water for the oil, and when Mr. Heath reached his home 
and attempted to show his people the beauties of the new light, his 
efforts were a dismal failure. 

In those days Washington Ingalls had a cabinet shop where is 
now the planing mill of B. L. Wells & Co. When a death occurred 
in the community, day or night, this man hastened to his shop and 
made to order a pine coffin of suitable size, which was given a coating 
of stain in great haste that it might be dry in season for use. The 
coffin containing the dead was carried to the grave on a bier over 
which was spread a pall. The first proposition to have a hearse made 
was the occasion of a warm discussion at town meeting. Col. Sam. T. 
W. Sleeper was the chief speaker against the measure, while 
it was advocated by Abbott Lovejoy. Sleeper argued that an ox sled 
or cart was good enough to carry him to the grave, to which 
Lovejoy retorted that he quite agreed with him on that point, but 
that decent people wanted to be carried to the grave in a decent 

I well remember a discussion that occurred in town meeting over 
a motion that the town erect a marble slab to mark the last resting 
place of a Revolutionary hero, Tom Fuller. "Col." Tom, as he was 
familiarly called, had made an honorable record in the Revolutionary 
war, serving several terms, and at the close of the war settled on 
New Chester mountain in what was then New Chester, now Bristol. 
He was poor and for fear that he would become a public charge the 
authorities, after the custom of those days, warned him to leave town, 


and thus prevented his gaining a legal residence. He married a woman 
24 years his senior. She was a superior weaver, always industrious; 
the colonel was good natured, a great wag and to his last days 
delighted in playing jokes on his neighbors. He contributed to the 
expenses of the household his pension of $8 per month and occasionally 
a dollar earned by peddling. He died in 1819, at the age of 73 years, 
and tender hands bore all that was mortal of the old hero from his 
humble cabin on the west side of the old road over the mountain to 
the little burying ground on the east side. The discussion spoken of 
above occurred thirty-five years after his decease. Some opposed 
the motion to erect the tablet at his grave solely on the ground that 
"Col" Tom was intemperate. But the motion prevailed and the marble 
slab was erected and now stands at his grave, and on it we read that 
his widow died Dec. 13, 1824, aged 103 years. 

Speaking of Tom Fuller's wife recalls a story I heard from the 
lips of those advanced in life when I was young. Rev. Enoch 
Whipple, who was installed pastor of the First Congregational church 
in Alexandria in 1785, and Dr. Timothy Kelley, a Revolutionary 
soldier and the first practicing physician in Bristol village, were 
warm friends and did some evangelistic work in this town before 
there was a religious organization within its limits. In those days 
nearly everybody believed in a literal hell presided over by a personal 
devil, and so did these two good men. One day they made a call on 
Mrs. Fuller, who was, as usual, at work at the loom. Mrs. Fuller was 
evidently embarrassed by the presence of her distinguished callers. 
She did not invite them into the parlor for she had none, and so she 
continued to ply the shuttle while they talked. The conversation 
soon took a religious turn and the doctor said, "Are you a Christian, 
Mrs. Fuller?" Mrs. Fuller gave an extra snap to her shuttle and 
replied, "I dunno. I dunno." "Well! you want to be a Christian, 
don't you, Mrs. Fuller?" "I dunno. I dunno." "Don't you want 
to go to Heaven when you die, Mrs. Fuller?" "I dunno. I dunno." 
To every question the same answer was made and the embarrassed 
woman sent the shuttle a little more spitefully on its course. Finally 
the doctor lost his patience and rising from his chair said, "Well! go 
to hell and be damned if you want to. I don't care." 

At 14 years of age I commenced to work in the paper-mill of 
Dow & Mason at $8 per month. I paid my mother $1.50 per week 
for board and thus had $2 per month left with which to clothe myself. 
Winters I attended school. Two years later I went to Franklin Falls 
and worked in the stone hosiery mill there. Though the wages were 
small I managed to support myself and save a few dollars with which 
I hoped some day to attend the seminary at Sanbornton Bridge, now 


Tilton. I remember that one Sunday, with the thoughts of school 
in my mind, I walked to Sanbornton Bridge to look at the school 
buildings. I had pictured in my mind an elegant set of buildings, 
and when I came to see the small edifice then standing on the 
Northfield side of the river, my admiration fell several degrees, but not 
m} r desire to enter its halls as a pupil. I strolled through the village, 
and, while gazing at the river from the bridge, the Rev. Silas Quimby, 
on his way to preach in the old Methodist church on the Northfield 
side, invited me to go to church with him, and so I had a seat in the 
minister's pew and remember to this day the fine singing I heard but 
can recall nothing of the sermon. My visit to the town that day only 
strengthened my desire to attend school there. 

On the Farm 

The summer of 1856, I worked on the Whittemore farm in Bridge- 
water. I had heard so much about the healthfulness of life and labor on 
the farm that I fancied one season there would develop the muscle and 
make sure the health of a person for a lifetime, but experience taught 
me that even with pure air to breathe one has a limit to his endurance 
and that the best environments are not sufficient to protect one who goes 
beyond the limit of his strength. In my case, the advantages of the 
farm were more than counterbalanced by more hours of hard work than 
I was equal to. I now look back on those months of incessant grind with 
almost a shudder and wonder that I did not collapse under the strain. 
No ten-hour law or custom regulated the labor on the farm in those 
days. Up in the morning with the sun, there were milking the cows, 
feeding the hogs and doing the chores, or an hour's work in the cornfield 
or hayfield before breakfast. Breakfast over, the only rest of the day 
came, for the good man of the house had family prayers, and the read- 
ing of the Bible and prayers occupied full fifteen minutes. In plant- 
ing, hoeing or mowing I had tools as heavy as a man's and I was 
expected to keep up with the rest. Darkness usually came ere the 
milking and chores were completed, and I retired, too tired to enjoy 
peaceful rest, but all too soon I was shaken by a firm hand and told 
by a half-pitying voice that it was time to get up. I remember one 
day's experience in particular. After breakfast I went with the man 
of the house on to the road to work, where I earned my employer a 
man's wages. We ate our dinner from the pail, by the wayside, but 
we were at work for the town, so a whole hour was devoted to dinner 
or rest, and discussing the attack of Brooks on Chas. Sumner in the 
U. S. Senate which had just occurred. The work was new, and I went 
"home" that night particularly tired. Darkness came as usual ere the 
work was done, and I gladly entered the house, thinking that my work 


was over for the day. A tallow candle was burning on the table, which 
gave just about enough light so that one could walk across the floor 
without treading on the cat. Near the door sat the grandmother churn- 
ing, using an old fashioned, tall, round churn with a dasher and handle 
which was worked up and down. I had hardly taken a seat when the 
grandmother, with a sigh, ceased to work, and said, "Perhaps Richard 
will help us a little." Well, Richard helped a little, and his "little" 
consisted in churning till the cream was turned into butter, and no one 
thought he could be tired. At least no one offered to help him. 

In March, 1857, my brother William was employed by a Mr. Green- 
leaf to go to Watertown, Mass., and put in operation there some knit- 
ting machinery. He took with him a half dozen hands who had had 
experience in the knitting mill at Franklin and I, as one, went with him 
to operate the knitters. The great financial crisis of that year closed 
this business in August, and I returned home and soon after again 
found myself at work on Bridgewater Point, this time for Peter Whit- 
temore on his farm, where I remained some three months. In Novem- 
ber, Mr. Greenleaf resumed business in Franklin, my brother William 
again in charge, and my brother Abbott and I worked for him and 
boarded at Moses Burbank's. My sister Sara was, at this time, a stu- 
dent at Sanbornton Bridge, and during the winter Abbott and I visited 
her occasionally. 

Work again failed, or Mr. Greenleaf did, in the early months of 
1858, and, taking what few dollars I had accumulated during the year, 
I started for school at Sanbornton Bridge. My sister Sara and I 
boarded ourselves and, with some assistance from home in the line of 
pastry for the table, we managed to live on a very small sum per week. 
The few dollars I took with me were made to extend during the term 
by earnings — sawing wood, building fires, and doing such odd jobs as 
I was able to obtain. The summer found me again at work in the 
paper mill and the following winter again at school, under the same 
circumstances. The expenditure of every cent was carefully considered 
before an investment was made even for the necessaries of life. At the 
close of one term I found myself unexpectedly with nearly two dollars 
left, after paying all expenses, whereas I did not expect to have more 
than enough to pay my fare home. I was so much elated at my unex- 
pected affluence that I at once indulged in an oyster supper and in other 
ways celebrated, so that I reduced my surplus nearly one half. The 
last day of the term brought my mother and Mrs. J. Darling to San- 
bornton. One of the first questions Mrs. Darling asked me was if I 
had paid to the person she named the two dollars she gave me the last 
time I was at home. With that question the truth flashed upon me. I 
had been carrying $2 that did not belong to me and had even spent 
more than half of it and then had no means to make restitution. I 


acknowledged my predicament, and the good woman, with a laugh, told 
me not to worry about it and that she would be entirely satisfied if I 
repaid her at my convenience. This debt I discharged with the first 
money I earned after my defalcation. 

Between the time of my first visit to Sanbornton Bridge and my 
enrollment as a student, the first seminary building erected on the 
Northfield side had given way to a large modern brick building of three 
stories, having a main building and two wings, so that my school days 
there commenced in the new building. Compared with the present 
Tilton Seminary buildings, the new building lacked many of the modern 
comforts and conveniences. Then it satisfied all the requirements of 
the day and was a great blessing to all who attended. 

Aside from the hard work that straitened circumstances required, 
my school days did not differ materially from those of the average 
student. I entered into all branches of school life with a desire to reap 
the greatest possible benefit and so, whether I worked or studied or 
played, whether in the recitation room or at the meetings of the U. P. 
society, the ultimate result to be attained was the leading incentive for 
action. There were no spare moments; all were utilized. And, indeed, 
they had to count, for with the hours devoted to work I had to be very 
diligent indeed to keep up in my studies with my schoolmates who were 
more fortunate financially, and, as I thought, keener in intellect than I. 



I continued to attend school winters and work summers till the 
close of the spring term of 1862. My purpose was to fit for college 
at this institution and then enter Middletown, or some other college. 
Although the difficulties in the way were great, no other thought than 
that I should succeed entered my mind for a moment. During these 
years the American people were being prepared for the great national 
struggle that was looming in awful proportions from the south. I little 
realized then that the humble part I was to play in the great struggle 
would turn the whole current of my life and blast my ambition, but 
such was the case. 

The discussion of the great crime of slavery entered into every 
phase of society life, and interest increased with the passing years. 
The debates in Congress, platform and pulpit efforts, and the press of 
the day kept the public conscience' at fever heat. In our society meet- 
ings at the seminary some phase of national affairs was each week dis- 
cussed, and extracts from the orations of the great masters were no 
longer used for declamations, but extracts from Wendell Phillips, 
William Lloyd Garrison, and Charles Sumner on the great crime of 

The excitement of the political campaign of 1860 can hardly be con- 
ceived of at the present day, and the months following the election of 
Abraham Lincoln brought only gloom and apprehension, as preparations 
for the great struggle went on. Application to study under such circum- 
stances was well nigh impossible. 

One by one the southern states passed ordinances of secession. The 
first of February, 1861, the papers announced the withdrawal of Texas 
from the Union, when a young man by the name of Middleton, who was 
a student at Tilton from that state, announced that he was then a res- 
ident of a foreign nation. This called forth indignant retorts from my- 
self and others that were not complimentary to him or his state, where- 
upon he attempted to draw a revolver. This action caused such a dem- 
onstration among the boys present that he was soon convinced that the 
wisest course for him was to keep his revolver in his pocket. 


When on the 12th day of April, 1861, the fact that Sumter had 
been fired upon was flashed over the wires, the North rose as one man. 
The people gave themselves over to demonstrations of patriotism. Mass 
meetings were held, martial music was heard in every town, and recruit- 
ing for the army went on faster than the volunteers could be organized. 
At Tilton a mass meeting was held in Seminary hall; the Franklin Band 
furnished music, and many patriotic addresses were made. With few 
exceptions the people were a unit in favor of forcibly preventing any 
state from withdrawing from the Union, and yet underneath all the 
excitement and enthusiasm deep gloom rested on the people, as they saw 
preparations for war going on. But few caught more than a glimpse of 
the immensity of the struggle ahead. One public man, thought to be 
more extravagant than any other, was quoted as saying that the Union 
was worth the expenditure of 50,000 lives. The sentiment was quoted 
by the daily press in display type; by some to show how the judgment 
of a great man could be warped in times of great excitement, and by 
others to show the value of the Union. But more than 8 times 50,000 
men were sacrificed to prevent the disintegration of the nation. Little 
did the vision of even the most farseeing grasp the immensity of the 
sacrifice required. 

The Big Fire 

The summer of 1861 found me again at work in the paper mill on 
Willow Street. As the Fourth of July approached some of the boys sug- 
gested the hanging of Jeff Davis in effigy on the Fourth, as a diversion. 
Accordingly an image was made and duly hung on the flag staff in 
Central Square on the evening of July third. This image was clothed, 
including boots, with clothes left by workmen at the paper mill. At 
three o'clock the next morning commenced the greatest conflagration in 
the history of Bristol. The entire west side of Central Square was 
swept away. As the fire lit up the square, there hung the effigy of Jeff 
Davis; and the clothes and boots he wore, all covered with lime, plainly 
disclosed where this man had been put together. This fact, under ordi- 
nary circumstances, would not have occasioned any regrets, but now 
the authors did not enjoy their identity being known, because the fire 
had not half finished its work ere the boys were accused of being the 
cause of it all, and Jeff Davis told who some of the boys were. Gossip 
was wild for a few days and there was talk of a town meeting to see 
what could be done with the boys, and it was charged in the leading 
state paper published in Concord that the fire was caused by a fireball 
being thrown by a boy through a window into one of the buildings. 
There was no truth in this account of the origin of the fire, but, of 
course, the story told by the boys was not, for a long time, believed. I 


was one of the boys interested and was on the street that night and 
knew that no glass was broken, unless it was the glass of the wine- 
bibbers in the basement, where the fire originated, near the southeast 
corner of the present Rollins block. There was some good reason to 
believe that dissipation by men in the basement named was the cause of 
the conflagration, but this was never known. 

At this fire the present hand engine of the fire department was used 
for the first time in Bristol. It had been purchased only a few months 
before, largely through the efforts of Capt. Geo. W. Dow, and, for want 
of a better place, it was housed in Capt. Dow's carriage house on Union 
street, which was connected with his residence at the corner of Lake 
and Union streets. At this fire it did good service in saving adjoining 
property, especially the stable in the rear of the buildings burned. 

The growth of Bristol village spoiled much good coasting ground. 
In 1862 the only building west of South Main and High streets was the 
one on Beech street built, and occupied then, by D. P. Prescott, and 
this street was laid out only to his residence. This spring the snow was 
very deep, covering the walls and fences, and so continued till the latter 
part of March, or first of April. The warm days and cold nights made 
a crust so hard that oxen and even four-horse coaches could drive in 
safety over it. Each morning the crust from the base of Round Top, 
or New Chester mountain, was alive with men and women, boys and 
girls, enjoying the exhilirating sport of sliding. Some of the boys, 
experts in handling their sleds, after riding from Round Top to Pres- 
cott's, would strike into the highway at good speed and continue their 
course through Central Square to the depot. No such crust sliding has 
since been known in Bristol. 

On the second day of July, 1862, President Lincoln issued a call 
for 300,000 men. There was no telegraph line to Bristol in those days, 
and the news reached the people through the daily press at 5 p. m. on 
the third. I well remember the impression it produced. People were 
just beginning to realize that all the resources of the government would 
be needed to crush the rebellion, and were preparing to nerve them- 
selves for the sacrifice. At that time I worked at the paper mill of Dow 
& Mason on Willow street from 12 m. to 12 p. m , and I well remem- 
ber that the first man I met on my way to the mill that afternoon after 
supper was Capt. Daniel S Mason. His salutation was "Well! Richard, 
what would you give if you were out of it?" My reply was, "I would 
not give anything." I mention this, not to show any exceptional patrio- 
tism on my part, but to show a common feeling that animated all or 
nearly all the young men at that time. Those who sought to evade the 
responsibilities of the hour by going to Canada were few indeed cora- 


pared with the many who were ready to respond to the call of the gov- 
ernment when duty seemed to demand it. 

On the 21st of July, my brother Abbott, who was at work in a 
hosiery mill at Cohoes, N. Y., enlisted in Co. H, 115th Regt. N. Y. 
Vols., and came home to spend a few days on a furlough. These were 
the last days he spent at home. It was well that the curtain concealing 
the future was not lifted, or else more than a shadow would have rested 
on the family circle during the brief time he spent at home with us. 

On the 4th of August, Bristol held a special town meeting and 
voted to pay all who should enlist on the quota of the town, before the 
20th of that month, the sum of $200. 

Abbott Clark Musgrove 

An incident of this meeting is well remembered. There were a few 
in town who were bitterly opposed to the war. Among these, one of 
the most rabid was Abbott Lovejoy. He was opposed to paying any 
bounty, and when Judge O. F. Fowler moved that the sum of $100 be 
paid to each man who should volunteer on the quota of Bristol, Mr. 
Lovejoy promptly moved to amend by making the amount $200. He 
thought to prevent any action by presenting a bone of contention. He 
then took his hat and started for home with the remark, "There now, 
fight over it." But he misjudged the spirit of the meeting, and before 
he reached the street the amendment was adopted; and so Bristol paid 
$200 to its volunteers under the calls of the president that year. 


At that time Col. George W. Stevens and Col. Thomas J. Whipple, 
both of Laconia, were agitating the raising of a regiment from Belknap 
county and neighboring towns. A meeting in the interest of the move- 
ment was held at Laconia, July 25, and other places at a subsequent date, 
and excitement ran high. The advantages of belonging to a regiment, 
the companies of which would be composed of men from adjoining 
neighborhoods, appealed strongly to the people of this section, and large 
numbers signified their intentions of enlisting. Arrangements were 
made with the state authorities to allow the men to select their own offi- 

Under this arrangement enlistment papers were sent out from the 
statehouse on Tuesday, Aug. 12, and on Saturday, Aug. 16, Gov. Berry 
was notified by Col. Stevens that a full regiment had been enlisted. 
This fact gave rise to the claim that the 12th Regt. was raised in three 
days. It cannot be denied, however, that nearly all of these men had, 
during the ten days previous, signed a paper agreeing to enlist as soon 
as the opportunity presented, and so affixed their names to enlistment 
papers as soon as they arrived. Thus the enlistments took place, or 
most of them, in three days. 

I well remember the circumstances of deciding to join my fortunes 
with the many others from Bristol, who were proposing to enlist. In 
Central Square one day, I met Alonzo W. Jewett. We sat down on the 
grass outside the fence in front of the residence of Hon. Samuel K. 
Mason, where now stands the bank block, and for half an hour discussed 
the subject in all its bearings. Our decision was to enlist. We shook 
hands and parted, and Aug. 12, within an hour after the enlistment 
papers reached Bristol, we affixed our names and became recruits for the 
United States army. 

Within the three days named Blake Fowler enlisted 71 men, chiefly 
from Bristol, Alexandria, and Danbury, who became a part of Co. C, 
12th Regt., of which company Mr. Fowler was chosen captain. David 
E. Everett enlisted, chiefly from Bristol, Bridgewater and Hebron, 43 
men, who became a part of Co. D, and he was made the first lieutenant 
of that company. The total number that Bristol furnished for the 12th 
Regt. was forty. 

I cast my lot with the recruits of David E. Everett. These were 
merged with others enlisted in Hill by Bradbury M. Morrill, and a 
larger number enlisted in Sanbornton by J. Ware Butterfield, a young 
lawyer at Sanbornton Bridge, and these constituted Co. D. A meeting 
for the election of officers of Co. D was held in the old chapel at Piper's 
mill in Sanbornton a few days after our enlistment, but there is no fact 
or record that enables me to give the exact date. At this meeting Mr. 
Butterfield was elected captain; Mr. Everett, first-lieutenant; Mr. 


Morrill, the second-lieutenant; Alonzo W. Jewett, first-sergeant, while 
I was chosen third corporal. 

Among my associates or acquaintances who enlisted at the same 
time that I did, were Alonzo W. Jewett, Henry and Uriah Kidder, the 
three Nelson brothers, Dan, Major and Albert; Dr. H. B. Fowler, who 
served as surgeon of the regiment; his father, Blake Fowler, who was 
elected captain of Co. C; David E. Everett, who served as first lieu- 
tenant of Co. D; Charles S. Brown, who was a fellow-workman at the 
paper mill; Charles W. Cheney and Gustavus Emmons, killed at Chan- 
cellorsville; Geo. C. Currier and Amos Damon, who enlisted as musi- 
cians; Frank Darling; Henry Drake, wounded at Chancellorsville, and 
his brother, Chas. N. Drake, who was shot through the body and lost a 
leg at Gettysburg; Moses Dustin, Robert Easter, and Wm. P. Harlow, 
who died of disease; Adna Hall and Oliver P. Hall; Levi B. Laney, who 
was several times wounded; Thos. E. Osgood, wounded at Chancel- 
lorsville; and Henry A. Randolph, Timothy Tilton, Louis Rowe, and 
others not recalled The case of Louis Rowe deserves special mention 
from the fact that, being an alien, he was not subject to a draft and 
declined a good offer to remain at home and go as a substitute for one 
subject to the draft if he should be called. 

From the commencement of the war the ladies of Bristol often met 
as a soldiers' aid society, and prepared lint, made "housewives," and per- 
formed such other work as they could to aid those in the field. After 
the enlistments spoken of above they worked with renewed diligence, 
realizing that the future would bring a larger demand for the w t ork of 
their hands. 

During August, after our enlistment, there was little to do, and the 
time was passed visiting friends, making preparations for our trip south, 
and in occasional meetings at Sanbornton Bridge and elsewhere of those 
who composed Co. D. About the first of September we rendezvoused 
at Sanbornton Bridge for drill, and on the 4th of that month took the 
train there for Concord. From the station we marched to the old fair- 
ground, where each man was furnished with a blanket, and then each 
company was assigned one of the barracks erected for our reception. 
These barracks were each provided with fifty bunks giving accommoda- 
tions for two men each, two bunks to a section, one above another. 
Louis Rowe and I shared one bunk. The cooking was done over an 
open fire a little way off, and there was a small cook house where the 
food was protected from the weather. 

That first night in camp was a memorable one. Leaving the envi- 
ronments of home had a sobering effect on all, and that there were 
many sad hearts there cannot be denied. Many spent the evening 
around the campfire singing and in other ways trying to keep up their 
spirits, and as the hours passed this was changed to a prayermeeting led 


by Rev. Asa Witham, a Free Baptist local preacher of Co. D. Some, 
true to other instincts, sought relief in strong drink. 

Adversity and a hard experience drive some men to seek relief in 
strong drink, while it makes others more religious. So in the army, 
men who never drank before became intemperate, while others became 
men of prayer. 

Many in the company were greatly annoyed by the actions of some 
when under the influence of liquor. The one giving the greatest offense 
in Company D was Warren S. Cooper. He had seen active service and 
showed such proficiency in drill and in the manual of arms that he had 
been elected sergeant. For a sergeant to act thus was considered by 
many as particularly scandalous, and finally I was one of a self consti- 
tuted committee that waited on the company officers and asked that he 
be dismissed from the company. We were told that he was too good a 
soldier to be thrown overboard, but if he continued to offend after being 
mustered or reaching the seat of war, he would be disciplined. This 
reasoning satisfied the committee, but the interview had hardly termi- 
nated when an officer arrived in camp who arrested Cooper as a deser- 
ter from the navy, and we saw no more of the drunken sergeant. 

On Friday, Sept. 5, after our arrival in Concord, Co. D marched to 
the city, and in the statehouse yard was mustered into the service of the 
United States. It was an impressively solemn occasion. The company 
stood in the north side of the yard facing south and with uplifted hands 
swore to defend the flag of the Union and to obey all lawful orders of 
our Superior officers. Every man seemed to realize the full import of 
that oath. They thought, also, they had some conception of the work 
before them, but, alas, they had not. 

This ceremony over, we were informed we could have a furlough 
and go to «ur homes and remain there till Monday. This offer all 
accepted with pleasure. On Wednesday following we drew our uni- 
forms and a few days later, our arms. Another furlough of two days 
was granted the next Saturday, and, indeed, it was very easy to obtain 
a leave of absence during the first three weeks in camp. Then as the 
day of our departure from the state drew near, the grip of military 
discipline was tightened. 

On the 11th I went to Franklin, from camp, with Capt. Butter- 
field, Lieut. Everett, A. W. Jewett and one or two others, and was 
initiated into the mysteries of Free Masonry. This work was done by 
the officers of Meridian Lodge at a special meeting that afternoon and 
the afternoon of the following day. As may be supposed, no time was 
spent in lectures or in examination of the candidates as to their profi- 
ciency as they progressed. 

On the 20th of August a meeting was held at Laconia by the line 
officers of the regiment for the election of field officers. Col. Thos. J. 


Whipple was elected colonel; Geo. W. Stevens, lieutenant-colonel; and 
Dr. George Montgomery, assistant surgeon. None of these men 
were commissioned for the places to which they were elected. Col. 
Whipple was a brilliant lawyer and a capable and fearless soldier. 
He had served in the Mexican war; as lieut. -colonel of the 1st Regt., N. 
H. Vols., and as colonel of the 4th Regt., in the Civil war; but his 
personal habits had resulted in his retirement from the service in March 
previous, and therefore Gov. Berry declined to commission him. This 
gave great offense to a majority of the men of the regiment, especially to 
those from Laconia and vicinity, and resulted in a bitter controversy 
that came near making serious trouble in the regiment. This was 
stayed only through the advice of cool heads, including Col. Whipple 
himself. As it was, the governor suffered some indignity from the men, 
and day and night the cry of Whipple! Whipple! rang from all parts 
of the encampment, and the men were not reconciled to the man 
appointed to command them till after the battle of Fredericksburg. 
Then, without sufficient reason, there was a sudden change and Col. 
Potter was ever after the idol of his regiment. 

Capt. John H. Potter of the Regular army was commissioned as 
colonel, and John F. Marsh, as lieutenant-colonel, while Dr. John H. 
Sanborn was commissioned as assistant surgeon, in place of Dr. Mont- 
gomery. The others elected at this meeting and commissioned were 
Dr. H. B. Fowler of Bristol as surgeon, and Rev. Thomas L. Ambrose, 

Life in camp at Concord was filled with squad, company and bat- 
talion drills, dress parades, guard mountings and various other duties, 
all intended to prepare the men for active service. Sept. 23, the routine 
of camp duties was varied by the arrival of a large delegation of the 
friends of Companies D and C from Bristol and other places. A sword 
was presented to Dr. H. B. Fowler and another to Lieut. D. E. Everett, 
while a suit of clothes was given Capt. Blake Fowler. 

On the 24th came friends from Sanbornton, who presented tokens 
of regard to the officers and men from that section. On this occasion a 
dinner was served by the visitors and speeches made. One man said 
that all the offices of the towns and state would be at the disposal of 
those who returned from the war. His remarks were somewhat pro- 
phetic, for he himself got left soon after the war when running for an 
office against a veteran. 


Off to War 

On Thursday, Sept. 25, an order was issued stating that the regi- 
ment would start for the seat of war Saturday morning, Sept. 27, at 7 

Then came preparations for the march. No more furloughs were 
to be issued and but few passes from camp, but the number of visitors 
increased rapidly and the camp was crowded with those interested in the 
welfare of loved ones in the regiment. There was but little sleep for 
any one the last night in camp. Some spent the time in noisy demon- 
strations, some spent hours in writing good-bye letters to friends, and 
all devoted much time to packing their knapsacks to the utmost capacity. 
The art of getting along with little had not then been learned. As it 
was, much had to be left behind and this furnished food for bonfires 
kept burning all through the night. The last evening Louis Rowe and 
I went to the city and called on friends and bore back to camp from 
them a good stock of edibles for our coming trip. These friends were 
strangers, who had invited us to their homes that evening. They took 
our names that they might keep track of us at the front. At the depot 
on our departure I was presented with a box by Miss Hobbs, a teacher 
at the seminary at Sanbornton Bridge, and Miss Lucy A. Way, a niece 
of Bishop Baker and a recent graduate there. On opening the box on 
the train it was found to contain with other things, fruit, a looking-glass 
and comb and two letters. The comb was carried in my pocket all 
through the war and for 35 years after the war and then was given a 
place among other war relics in my cabinet. The letters contained 
words of cheer and appreciation, and in my journal of that day I find 
recorded these words, "How it does lighten the burdens of life to know 
we have friends who appreciate our motives and sympathize with us." 

The march to the depot that Saturday morning was the first in 
heavy marching order. With gun and accoutrements, knapsack, haver- 
sack and canteen, each man carried about sixty pounds, and from that 
time the work of lightening the load commenced, and was continued till 
many disposed of the knapsack entirely and simply carried the 
blanket in a roll over the shoulder. 

A thousand men in ranks make a great showing, and the 12th 
regiment extended, marching by platoons, almost from the covered 
bridge to the railroad station. Thousands of people lined the sidewalks, 
cheered, and waved handkerchiefs and flags, as the soldier boys marched 
along. At the station there were many sad scenes of parting between 
the soldiers and aged parents, wives, sisters and other friends. On this 
occasion the cars were crowded. Two men with all their belongings 
were crowded into each seat, all in marked contrast to the room given 
the volunteers in the Spanish war later. 


With a train of twenty passenger cars, the regiment moved from 
Concord for the South. Its passage was a continuous ovation. All 
along the route crowds had gathered to see us pass, and saluted us with 
cheers and the waving of flags and handkerchiefs. At Worcester, the 
regiment left the train and marched to the park, where long tables 
were loaded with a substantial meal, of which the boys partook with 
great enjoyment. Norwich, Conn., was reached at dusk, where the 
regiment embarked on the steamer, "City of New York," and arrived at 
Jersey City at 2 a. m. Sunday morning. Here my brothers, John and 
William, met me, and, as the train that was to bear us south was not 
ready till 9 a. m., we had quite a visit. 

We arrived at Philadelphia at 3 o'clock Sunday afternoon, where we 
disembarked to march from one depot to another. A most agreeable 
surprise awaited us there. We marched to "Coopers Volunteers' 
Refreshment Saloon." Here were conveniences for all to have a 
generous wash, and then take seats at tables loaded with the best of 
the markets, including luscious peaches and pears from the orchards of 
that section. The hour was that for the closing of the afternoon 
services, and apparently all the churches emptied their congregations 
en masse where the soldiers from New Hampshire were to be seen. 
This hearty meal and the royal greetings extended by the people bright- 
ened the faces and lightened the hearts of all the boys; and, for me, 
has afforded a bright theme for thought in all the years that have since 
come and gone. 

The latter part of the afternoon the train pulled out of Philadelphia, 
and at 3:30 the next morning we were in Baltimore. While waiting a 
few miles outside of Baltimore, another train passed, from which 
stalutes were fired at our train, and, as a result, Darius Robinson, of 
Meredith of Co. I, who was standing in the door of one of the cars, fell 
dead. A lieutenant, Henry Ashbey, of the 84th N. Y. Vols., was arrested 
on arrival at the Relay House, but he proved his innocence by the fact 
that the fatal bullet would not fit his revolver. The guilty party escaped 
arrest and whether the shot was actually fired by a rebel sympathizer, 
as generally supposed, or as a salute, was never known. 

All day Monday we waited in Baltimore for a train to take us to 
Washington. At this time the peach crop of Maryland was being 
marketed, and the boys marvelled at the immense amount of peaches 
that were in the markets, even in great piles on tables or in bins in 
the middle of the streets. There was but little evidence of disloyalty 
to be seen in Baltimore because the city was completely under military 
control, but one private of the regular army moved among the boys, 
and expressed his opinion in most emphatic and bitter words that 
the government was seeking to liberate the slaves by the war. 


The ride from Baltimore to Washington during Monday night was 
one of the memorable events in the history of the regiment. The entire 
regiment, officers and men, were loaded into freight cars. The night 
was warm and the men not located near the doors soon began to pant 
for breath. "There is plenty of air outside, let's get some," said one; 
and the butts of muskets began to play. The same impulse moved the 
men in every car to action at the same time, and all along the train the 
bombardment continued, and pieces of the boarding on the sides of the 
cars were constantly flying into space until ventilation was ample. The 
regiment left its mark on that train; and if it was ever afterward used 
for the transportation of troops, it was in better condition for that 
purpose than when the 12th Regt. took possession of it. 

The boys looked forward to their arrival in Washington with 
interest, expecting something of the same reception accorded them in 
Philadelphia, but they were sorely disappointed. No words of greeting 
or demonstration of gladness were accorded the regiment, and this had 
a depressing effect upon the boys. Some accounted for this from the 
fact that so many regiments were constantly coming that this could not 
well be done, while others retorted that at Philadelphia the more the 
better; the people found a way to welcome all. Washington, however, 
was as cold as Baltimore, and what added to the disappointment was 
the fact that the regiment was marched to the "Soldiers' Rest," or 
"Soldiers' Retreat," for breakfast. The place was untidy, the meat 
(boiled pork) was poorly cooked, the coffee weak and greasy. The 
treat at Philadelphia was the only warm food the men had tasted since 
leaving Concord, and the disappointment at Washington was long 
remembered by the men. 

Then came the march of seven miles across Long Bridge to Arling- 
ton Heights. The fierce rays of the Virginia sun in September beat 
without pity upon men unaccustomed to marching, struggling along 
under a heavy load. The march, though short compared with many 
taken later, was one of the hardest in the experience of the regiment. 
Arriving at our destination the regiment went into camp. 

On Tuesday, Oct. 7, we moved camp about three miles to near Fort 
Corcoran, now Fort Meigs, on Arlington Heights, but further up the 
river. Here we had an opportunity to bathe in the Potomac. 

On Thursday following, we marched to Washington, about eight 
miles, and exchanged our old arms for new Springfield muskets, carry- 
ing a large ball and three buckshot. Our route was over Long Bridge 
to the city, and back through Georgetown. 

Letters about this time informed me that the 115th Regt., N. Y. 
Vols., in which was my brother Abbott, was at Harpers Ferry at the 
time of its surrender by Gen. Miles, that they were paroled and were 
then in Chicago. 



But little time was given in camp for reflection or brooding over the 
situation. There was something to do nearly every hour in the day, from 
reveille, at 5 o'clock a. m., to taps at 9:30 o'clock in the evening. There 
was breakfast call at 6; call for policing the grounds; sick call, at 6:45; 
squad drill 7 to 8; guard mount at 8; company or battalion drill 9 to 11 
or thereabouts; dinner call, inspection of quarters, regimental drills in 
the afternoon, dress parade and supper calls; schools for officers in the 
evening. The evenings were at the disposal of the men, and there were 
usually some religious services or a social meeting in the open air. On 
Sunday morning there was always inspection, and then usually a 
sermon by the chaplain. One evening, soon after our arrival in Vir- 
ginia, the Masons of the regiment went outside the camp lines and 
spent an hour under the blue arch of Heaven in consultation as to the 
best methods to assist each other in time of trouble. I was one of the 
party and I found later that the members of the fraternity were of 
great assistance to each other in many ways. The leader of this party 
was Capt. John H. Durgin. A few months later, when left for dead on 
the battlefield at Chancellorsville, his life was saved by brother Masons 
of the Confederate army. He was shot through the body and left for 
dead on the field. Our forces fell back, and the ground where we 
fought was occupied by the enemy. While still unconscious it was 
discovered by Confederate Masons that he was a Mason, and assistance 
was rendered him. He survived, was paroled with others and sent 
into the Union lines. He recovered and lived many years. 

About this time one of my company was outside the regimental 
lines practicing with his gun, as he claimed, when one of his fingers was 
blown off by a premature discharge of his gun. There was a difference 
of opinion as to whether, or not, this was really an accident, but the 
man secured his discharge thereby, a few weeks later. 

On the 10th came orders to pack up and be ready to march at 
a moment's notice. The notice to move did not come, and we remained 
in camp that night. That was fortunate for, during the night, we had 
our first experience with a Virginia rain storm. The rain fell in torrents, 
and those who did not have proper ditches around their tents suffered 


much in consequence. The rain continued during the next day, and we 
remained in camp waiting for orders to move, and continued to wait 
for a week. 

In camp here we had A tents. I had for tent mates Louis Rowe 
and the three Nelson brothers, Major, Dan and Albert. These men 
were farmers, handy with the axe, and they laid a floor in our tent. 
This was made of round wood cut in the woods near by and split, the 
flat half being at the top. Though rough, this floor was a great 
improvement over the bare earth. 

We now had shelter tents issued to us. These consisted of pieces 
of cotton cloth about five feet square, each piece being provided with 
buttons and button holes. Each man had one. Two pieces buttoned 
together formed the two sides of a roof, and sheltered two men; a 
third piece closed one end, and a fourth the other end, and so sheltered 
four men. In stormy weather, four to a tent was a common arrange- 
ment, though four had to lie snug together to have the cloth cover all. 
The addition of two other pieces doubled the length of the tent, but only 
added two more to its occupants. In this way the tent could be 
extended any length desired, but as all the occupants had to crawl in 
from one end or the other, tent companies of more than six were 

Wednesday, Oct. 16, we heard the first shot fired in actual warfare. 
Some rebel cavalry made a reconnaissance near our lines and were 
shelled, when they hastily departed without returning the fire. 

At three o'clock on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 17, the long 
expected reveille sounded, and the order to march was again issued, 
and this time the line of march was taken for Washington, where we 
arrived at 7 a. m. Previous to our departure it had rained, and the 
roads were muddy, and the mud of Virginia is something fearful. In 
traveling, one sinks to the bottom of the mud, and it is only with great 
difficulty that the foot is removed for a forward step, and then large 
masses adhere to the feet, making traveling extremely difficult and 

About noon the regiment boarded a train of freight cars at Wash- 
ington and we were soon in motion. We passed through Beltsville and 
White Oak Bottom to Annapolis Junction, where we took the rails of 
the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and proceeded west to Knoxville, Md. 
This crooked road and its deep cuts through ledges and the high hills 
that towered above the track were the marvel of all and showed the 
boys there were hills outside of New Hampshire. I lay dawn on the 
bottom of the freight car and with my knapsack for a pillow got some 
much needed sleep. Knoxville was reached soon after midnight. Here 
the regiment finished the night in bivouac, its first experience in sleeping 
on the ground without shelter. 


Knoxville was a station on the B. & O. railroad, about three miles 
from Harpers Ferry.. It had a few dwellings and a church, on the hill- 
side, under which was a schoolroom. No services were held in the 
church the Sunday morning we were there, but every seat in the 
schoolroom and many in the church were occupied by the boys writing 
letters home. Later in the day one fellow, who had rolled off the top 
of a freight car the night before while asleep and was supposed to have 
been killed, came into camp, growling because he had been left to walk 
so many miles. 

During the day many amused themselves trying to pitch their shel- 
ter tents on poles cut near by, but towards night the order to fall in was 
given, so tents already pitched were struck, and the line of march taken 
up, and we moved some three miles to the east side of South mountain, 
near Petersville. From this mountain was named the recent battle in 
which the Union forces were victorious. There we remained till the 
evening of October 24. 

On the 23d, Lieut. E. T. Case, Abram Brown, and A. E. Huntoon, 
all of the 9th Regt., visited me. They were fellow students at Sanborn- 
ton Bridge. The two latter graduated there in 1862, and Case and I 
were expecting to graduate there in June, 1863. This was the under- 
standing when we last separated, but instead we meet in Virginia and 
all are in the army. 

Here we learned of the death of Wm. P. Harlow of Bristol. He 
was taken from our camp on Arlington Heights to the hospital at Wash- 
ington, sick with brain fever, and died the night after his arrival. His 
was the first death in Co. C. 

At 10 o'clock, on the morning of Oct. 24, we marched to Berlin, Md., 
five miles, arriving about midnight, where we bivouacked till morning. 
The night was cold, and the men suffered much. Just before starting 
on this march a member of Co. I died, and his remains were hastily 
buried in a shallow grave by the roadside, wrapped in his blanket. This 
seemed shocking to our sensibilities, but it was only another lesson in 
the hardening process that was going on. But for these preparatory 
scenes, the hard work before us could not have been performed. 

On the 27th of October we crossed the Potomac on a pontoon 
bridge and were again on the sacred soil of Virginia. During our 
march of three miles the rain fell copiously and the tramp of the army 
soon churned the soil into deep mud, and we welcomed an order to go 
into camp, though on the steep hillside. We were encamped near the 
bridge, evidently as guard, and here we remained till the army passed. 
We left behind, at Berlin, our lst-sergt., A. W. Jewett, sick. He 
received a furlough home and did not rejoin us for some months. 

We were now in Hillsboro county, Va., (now Loudon County). 
The plantation houses, widely separated, showed marks of prosperity, 


and the blight of an army had not till now fallen on this section. Since 
leaving Concord not a pound of fresh meat had been issued to the 12th 
regiment, and some whose consciences trouble them a little at the 
thought of foraging used this fact to justify the act. Others had no 
qualms of conscience to silence, and so all, as far as practicable, went 
in for some of the delicacies the section afforded, notwithstanding the 
fact that stringent orders had been issued from army headquarters 
against foraging, and that those caught in the act were threatened with 
hard work on fortifications then being constructed. To our camp a 
hive of honey was brought one night, turkeys that unwisely defied the 
soldier with a gobble, did so no more, sweet potatoes started from the 
ground wherever found, and sheep and cattle came to an untimely end. 

An amusing prank was here played by Co. D men on men of Co. C. 
One night a squad from Co. C had captured a fat steer and were busily 
dressing it when they were discovered by a squad from Co. D, also in 
quest of fresh meat. Hastily taking in the situation, Co. D men went 
back to camp, got their muskets, placed themselves under the leadership 
of one of their number and returned. By this time the work of dressing 
the steer was nearly completed. Looking up, those at work saw in the 
starlight a party of armed men descending upon them, whom they 
doubted not were the patrol scouring the country for just such offenders 
as they were, and they instantly sought safety in flight, leaving every 
pound of meat behind. This meat, Co. D bore triumphantly into camp, 
and in the morning generously presented a portion to their friends in 
Co. C who had dressed the creature. 

Louis Rowe, the Nelson brothers, and I went, one day, a mile or 
so from camp and found, not far from a house, a fine calf, which was 
promptly dispatched. I was stationed behind a tree to watch, while the 
others worked with dispatch under the shadow of a rail fence, to dress it. 
The work was about half completed when I saw a negro approaching. 
Knowing we had nothing to fear from him I tried to motion my party 
to that effect, but they were so busy they neither saw nor heard me, 
but when they heard the approaching footsteps they were seized with 
a sudden fear, hastily placed a small portion of meat in their haversacks 
and started for camp on the run. There was nothing for me to do 
under the circumstances but to follow, so I also secured a piece of meat 
and tried to overtake my comrades, but the distance to camp was nearly 
covered ere I accomplished this and informed them of the cause of their 
fright, so they did not return for what was left. 

That there was cause for nervousness when on such expeditions 
may be seen from the fact that a dozen of the 12th Regt. boys in one 
squad were arrested one day by the provost guard and taken to division 
headquarters. This arrest did not please Lieut. Col. Marsh of the 12th, 
and he at once mounted his horse, took a detail of 20 men and started 


out to see what he could do at foraging. Soon after, finding a flock 
of sheep, he commanded his men to fire, but the only effect the firing 
had was to put the sheep to flight. Fortunately they took refuge in 
a corner of the field where the men, after laying down their arms, sur- 
rounded them and captured a dozen which they bore to camp. 

A Live Watermelon 

The Twelfth Regiment history tells the following story: "It was 
just about dark enough to see but not be seen, and the melon patch was 
but a few rods in front of our line, as carefully located by one of 
Company F boys before night. So he quickly but noiselessly creeps 
over the breastwork, and crawling along on all fours, soon finds him- 
self among the vines, where he feels and squints for the luscious fruit. 
But finding only some small green specimens left, he ventures a little 
farther out, but still finding none worthy of capture, and not wishing 
to return to be laughed at for so much danger and pains with nothing to 
show for it all, he concludes, after holding a council of war with himself, 
that he will reinforce with new courage, crawl beyond the middle line 
and prove 

'That he, alone, is sure of luck 
Who shows himself most full of pluck.' 
Scarcely has he commenced to put this resolution into motion when, as 
if already proving the truth of the couplet, he espies dimly through the 
darkness, but a few feet ahead of him, a large melon. But now he halts, 
stretches and flattens like a toad, for he thinks he hears the click of 
a gun lock. In breathless silence he lies and listens, and gazes into the 
darkness. He hears nothing now but the beating of his own heart, and 
sees nothing but a dark spot on the ground, which he now fully believes 
must be nothing more or less than a big watermelon. What else can it 
be? No longer willing to borrow fears of his imagination he draws himself 
up into creeping posture again, and commences to advance; when, all 
at once, out of a vedette hole (that our young hero had mistaken for the 
big melon) springs a full grown and well armed Johnny reb, exclaiming: 
'Now I've got ye, you d—n Yank,' as he thought he had, and was 
intending, doubtless, to take him prisoner, but the game was too quick 
for him and he only had the satisfaction of sending a bullet after the 
retreating form of the melon hunter, who, having thus opened the ball 
of a regular fusillade for some distance up and down the lines, contented 
himself to remain quiet behind the works the rest of the night, wonder- 
ing how one poor soldier could be the innocent cause of so much 
trouble, and congratulating himself in being able to balance the account 
so far in his favor; for if his pluck did not get him the melon, it was 
certainly his good luck that the melon did not get him." 


At this time the army was moving south and the long expected 
advance on Richmond had once more commenced. Here we saw 
Gen. McClellan and Gen. Burnside, as they passed us riding to the front. 
This was the first time we had seen our commander-in-chief or Burn- 
side, and so all hats came off and all joined in a hearty hurrah, to which 
the generals replied by uncovering, a formality not repeated at sub- 
sequent meetings. That very day orders were issued at Washington 
for the removal of McClellan and the promotion of Gen. Burnside to 
be commander of the army of the Potomac. 

After two or three days in camp on the south bank of the Potomac, 
while the army was passing, the 12th regiment fell in the rear of the 
army and moved two miles to Lovettsville, and the following day, ten 
miles to Hillsboro, which place we reached Thursday, Oct. 31. There 
we remained till Sunday, when the march south was resumed. During 
the following week we marched about 50 miles, Each day firing was 
heard a few miles south of us, a constant reminder of the work we had 
in hand. Our march took us by easy stages to Snicker's Gap, thence 
to Orleans. 

One night on this trip our regiment was on picket. This service 
brought extra duty but with it additional opportunity, for the picket line 
was remote from the main line of travel and here the country had been 
foraged less. Among the luxuries of the picket line was a fricasseed 
chicken, when I officiated as cook. These were palmy days for the 

Waterloo was a village of a dozen negro huts or shanties and the 
remains of a woolen mill — about the only one seen by us south of the 
Potomac. Here we remained four days. 

Since leaving Arlington Heights no mail had been received by the 
regiment from New Hampshire and the boys were becoming impatient 
for news from home. Capt. Butterfield had a brother-in-law for clerk 
by the name of Geo. Pecker, and some one conceived the idea of sending 
him to New Hampshire for news. The idea was quickly acted on. 
Each man of Co. D contributed 62 cents, and he promptly started to 
bear tidings of the boys to their friends and bring tidings from them 
to us. He made the trip, delivered his mail, talked with our friends in 
their homes and answered many anxious questions that could not be 
answered by mail, and returned. The trip was well worth what it cost, 
for the next day after he left, the accumulated mail of four weeks was 
received and all came in for a share. This mail brought the intelligence 
that Comrade Robert Easter, who was sent to Washington sick when 
we left Arlington Heights, had died of typhoid fever there. 

Sunday, Nov. 16, we marched ten miles to Warrenton. On arriv- 
ing in camp the sick were removed from the ambulances and placed in 
a large tent erected for their reception. Here several died within 


a few hours of their arrival. Among the number was Edward Pratt of 
Co. C. It had been intended to send him and others to some hospital 
to the rear, from our last camp, but for some reason this was not done 
and the sick were loaded into ambulances and brought along. Comrade 
Pratt was suffering from a high fever, and the ride to Warrenton was 
more than he could endure. He walked from the ambulance to the 
hospital tent and soon after breathed his last. I was with him when 
he died. 

Had these men been afforded the comforts of home their lives 
might have been spared. But this was impossible. Riding in ambu- 
lances over rough roads or over the fields afforded hardly a moment of 
quiet or rest, and the roadside must occasionally be visited, efforts 
which required strength far beyond what the sick men had. No wonder 
such often succumbed as soon as, like Pratt, one found himself no 
longer obliged to nerve himself to meet the necessities of the hour. 

We were informed that the remains of those dying here were to be 
sent north, but after we had started on the march the next morning I 
learned that all had been buried. Obtaining permission, Louis Rowe 
and I returned to the scene of our encampment and marked Pratt's 
grave by nailing to a near-by tree a piece of a hardtack box on which 
we wrote his name, company and regiment, and also his residence — all 
we could do for our deceased comrade. Comrade Pratt was from 
Hebron, and a brother of Mrs. Wm. A. Berry. The remains were later 
removed to his native town. 

Warrenton was the first town of considerable size within the ene- 
my's line that we had visited, and the secession spirit was very manifest. 
In the town but few people were seen, and the heavy wooden shutters 
with which most of the houses were provided were tightly drawn and 
the doors locked. Just outside the town, near where we encamped the 
night of our arrival, was a plantation house. As we passed it the next 
morning the owner was walking the front porch in dressing gown and 
slippers, with marks of scorn and contempt on every line of his features, 
as he saw his fences down, his fields and even his front lawn deeply 
cut up with the wheels of the artillery and baggage trains. 

At Warrenton I received a call from A. P. Tasker, who was a 
teacher of music at Tilton, and Mr. French, a former student there. 
Both were now in the service. 

We now experienced a succession of rainy days. The roads and 
fields over which we marched were badly cut up, the supply trains 
were a long distance in the rear, and the army was decidedly short 
of rations. The wet earth was soft but unhealthy for beds, and various 
expedients were necessary, to keep our bodies from the wet ground. 
At one place poles and bushes were cut, and at another two immense 
stacks of straw and one of hay disappeared as if by magic. 


On the 19th, while on the march near Hartwood, our regiment was 
for the first time drawn up in line of battle to repel an expected attack. 
But no attack came, and, after being under arms for a couple of hours, 
we resumed our march. This little incident brought out the real stuff 
of which some of the men were composed. Most were ready to com- 
mence the real work of service as became men, while some trembled 
with fear. Especially noticeable among the latter was one of the 
officers, whose blanched face indicated that he was hardly a man to lead 
a charge. 

Near Fredericksburg 

Sunday evening, Nov. 23, 1862, we reached a point about four miles 
east of Falmouth, which lies on the north bank of the Rappahannock, 
opposite Fredericksburg. We were near the railroad that runs from 
Falmouth to Aquia Creek, where, as events proved, we were to remain 
for the winter. 

For some days previous to reaching Falmouth, the army was 
extremely short of rations, causing much suffering. This was occa- 
sioned by the bad condition of the roads in our rear or to the change of 
base of supplies from our rear to Aquia Creek, or both combined. Many 
a man made a day's march on a single hardtack. Individual foraging 
was out of the question in so large an army constantly on the move, 
but the commissary department gathered in for the use of the army 
what the country afforded, which was but little compared with the 
demand. One evening I and several of my tent's crew, by tramping 
two or three miles to where cattle had been slaughtered, secured the 
head of a steer just butchered. We took turns on duty that night, 
keeping it boiling, and when morning came were surprised and rejoiced 
at the large amount of meat that we secured from the bones. I started 
out with plenty of rations for the day. A few hours later, while resting 
by the roadside, I noticed one of my comrades, Hiram Philbrick, look- 
ing exceedingly haggard and dejected, and said to him, "What is the 
matter, Hiram? Are you sick?" "No, but I have not had a mouthful 
to eat since yesterday morning." Our haversack was instantly opened, 
and we gave the poor fellow a meal, which lasted in memory a long 
time, for as we have met at reunions and at other times in later years, 
he has never failed to allude to the food we furnished him that day. 

Another incident, showing human nature in the army as well as 
elsewhere, might be mentioned. While on the march, all luxuries 
secured by foraging were shared with the officers. On arriving at Fal- 
mouth I was suffering slightly from jaundice and longed for something 
to eat besides my daily rations. I could think of nothing at the com- 
missary, where supplies were sold the officers, that would fit my case 


better than dried apple, and so I applied to an officer, to whose mess I 
had contributed, to give me an order for the same, offering to pay for 
it, of course. He replied he would be glad to give orders, but he was 
afraid if he did he would not be able to get supplies for his own mess 
as he needed. 

We passed some days near Falmouth in the open, south of the 
railroad, but soon moved to the north side of the track into a growth of 
pine, where the trees on the average were about a foot in diameter. 
As showing the rapid growth of the pine in Virginia, it may be stated 
the rows were plainly visible where corn had grown when this land 
was cultivated. 

The trees were rapidly felled for firewood and for building winter 
quarters. Before many weeks had passed, every tree had fallen and 
then the stumps and finally the roots gave way to the soldiers' axes for 

Quite comfortable quarters were here erected by the men. The 
company streets, about forty feet wide, were laid out parallel with each 
other, and the tents were on both sides of the street facing inward. 
The tents were about eight feet long by six wide. Walls about three 
feet high were built of logs, and on these were pitched the shelter tents. 
Four men to a tent furnished four pieces of shelter tent cloth, which, 
buttoned together, made the roof. The ends above the logs were 
closed with a rubber blanket, pieces of hardtack boxes or by other 
devices. On one side or end was a fireplace, the chimney built of wood 
and daubed with clay to prevent its being destroyed by fire. Two bunks 
in one end, one above the other, occupied about one-half the space, 
leaving the other half for a living room. The New Hampshire boys 
were skilful in the use of the ax, and their quarters were among the 
best in the army. 

Soon after arriving at Falmouth, we learned that Capt. J. Ware 
Butterfield, of my company, Co. D, Capt. Blake Fowler, Dr. Fowler 
and his son, Geo. H. Fowler, who was acting as his servant, had been 
captured at Warrenton. They had remained there after the army 
left on account of sickness and were all promptly captured by the enemy. 
Capt. Fowler and Dr. Fowler rejoined the regiment some months later, 
and with them came Sergt. Jewett, who was left behind at Berlin. 
Capt. Butterfield was a very capable officer, but he never rejoined his 
company, and this act of his occasioned some bitterness towards him, 
and some recalled a report, at the time of his enlistment, that he had 
made a remark that he did not intend to see any fighting. In March, 
following, an order from the War Department was read on dress 
parade, announcing that he was dismissed from the service for absence 
without leave. This order was subsequently rescinded, and he stands 
on the rolls today as discharged, Nov. 17, 1862. 


Thursday, Nov. 26, was Thanksgiving in New Hampshire. We 
in the army had plenty of hardtack and beans to sustain the inner man, 
but the thoughts of all were turned to home. At the time of the usual 
afternoon regimental drill Lieut. Col. Marsh marched the regiment to 
the drill ground as usual, but instead of a drill he formed the men en 
masse and addressed them, and then called for three cheers for home. 
These were given with a will, and the regiment was marched back to the 
encampment, where three cheers were given for Col. Marsh. 

Later in the day the remains of Benjamin Weeks of Co. D were 
buried. He had died the night before and his was the first death in 
camp of a member of my company. His death made quite an impression 
on the men. According to military usage, when a private is buried, 
the order of march is, first the privates, then corporals, sergeants, and, 
last, the commissioned officers of the company, the whole under the 
command of a corporal. As corporal I officiated on this occasion. In 
the absence of a coffin, Weeks' body was placed to rest on a bed of 
evergreen, and evergreen was his covering before the cold earth filled 
the grave. Chaplain Ambrose offered prayer and made remarks appro- 
priate to the occasion. 

One of my duties as corporal was to take turns with the other 
corporals and sergeants in drawing rations. It was not long before the 
boys discovered that they fared better when the rations were drawn by 
me than when the others did the work. An explanation was found in 
the fact that each day, when my turn came, I took the morning report 
giving the number of men present, and figured from that just what 
rations we were entitled to, and I insisted on having this from the com- 
missary sergeant. On one occasion the commissary sergeant gave me 
a less quantity of sugar than I claimed, and refused to make good the 
shortage. Taking along one man of my detail as a witness I carried 
the sugar to the division commissary, had it weighed and got a certi- 
ficate of the amount. With this I appeared at the colonel's quarters 
and stated my case, with the result that the commissary sergeant was 
promptly reprimanded. He made good the shortage, and never 
attempted to give me short weight again. This led to my being detailed 
to attend to the drawing of all rations for the company. To compensate 
me for this extra work I was excused from all guard duty thereafter. 
I mention this here not because I desire to make prominent a dispo- 
sition to stand up for my rights, but because this fact saved me many 
a night of exposure on guard. During all my term of service guard 
duty was almost unknown to me. 



So the days passed and the rainy season of the year had 
arrived. The belief that there would be no winter campaign gained 
credence, and we settled down to the every-day life of the soldier, 
as though we knew we were to remain in our camp during the remain- 
der of the winter. But this was not to be. On Wednesday, Dec. 10th, 
orders were received to be ready to march with four days' rations 
and sixty rounds of ammunition and to leave our knapsacks and all 
extra clothing in our quarters. 

This indicated business, and the boys shuddered as much at the 
thoughts of exposures that might come as at the prospect of a battle, 
for the weather was severe, and the nights cold. 

This order to leave a part of our clothing in camp, or at a desig- 
nated place, which was given several times later, was a mystery to all. 
When troops leave a given locality they are never sure of returning 
unless the commanding general was sure of being defeated and there- 
fore obliged to return. 

The next morning at 5 o'clock we were ordered to prepare to march, 
and we hastily donned our overcoats and slung our arms and equip- 
ments and placed our blankets in rolls to throw over our shoulders. 
While these preparations were being made, firing from the direction of 
Fredericksburg was distinctly heard, vivid reminders of the work ahead. 
We remained ready to fall in till 11 o'clock, when the orders finally 
came to move, and we commenced our march to the music of the boom- 
ing guns. After marching two or three miles we halted, and there 
remained the rest of the day. From our position, the view was an 
inspiring one. The plain between us and Fredericksburg was covered 
with the army of the Potomac in battle array. The engineer corps was 
endeavoring to lay pontoons on the river, and the artillery on the high 
ground opposite the city kept up a constant cannonade all day long on 
the city to protect the men at their work. For hours the roar of 
artillery shook the earth under our feet, though we were a mile or more 
from the scene. We bivouacked for the night near the 9th Regt., N. H. 
Vols., and that evening there was a reunion of a party of former Tilton 
students in that regiment and those from the same school in the 12th, 


of whom I was one. Home, the seminary and the coming battle were 
the topics of conversation, and all were hopeful of the result of the 
coming conflict. One of the number, Lieutenant Case, was sick with a 
fever, and took no part in the coming action. Another, Appleton 
Huntoon, treated the party to fried potatoes, and a great luxury they 

On Friday morning, Dec. 12, we resumed the march towards 
Fredericksburg and halted on the bluffs opposite the city near the Lacey 
house. Six pontoons spanned the Rappahannock, three some dis- 
tance below the city, and three between the city and the bluffs, where 
we were. West of the city, on St. Marye's heights, the enemy was 
strongly entrenched. General Franklin had crossed south of the city 
and had already engaged the enemy, and General Sumner's forces 
had crossed on the bridges opposite the Lacey house, and occupied the 
city. Soon after noon Colonel Potter received orders for the 12th 
regiment to cross the river on the north bridge. In marching to this 
bridge, just as the regiment appeared on the bluff, it came within range 
of the batteries on St. Marye's heights, and three shells in rapid succes- 
sion were thrown at us. The first went over our heads, the second fell 
short, but the third struck in Cos. B and K, and eight men fell. Col. 
Potter gave the command, "Right oblique, double quick march!" and 
the regiment rapidly swung to the left into a ravine out of sight of the 
rebel gunners. Of the eight referred to above, two died of their 
wounds a day or two later. Just before this, where we were resting 
near the Lacey house, workmen had been at work probably for weeks 
preparing wood for the army, and there were immense piles there. 
One man had left a small axe, without any helve, and it occurred to me 
that that would be a fine thing to use in camp, so into my haversack it 
went along with my food. When the shells made their visit into our 
ranks and the run commenced for the ravine, this axe suddenly grew 
heavy. Indeed it seemed to weigh a ton, and I acted on the impulse of 
the moment and let it go. 

So many troops crowded the bridge that the 12th regiment 
remained on the east bank of the river till nightfall, when it marched 
back nearly a mile and there bivouacked on the soft, wet, cold ground, 
and we passed a most uncomfortable night. 

During this night eleven men of the 12th regiment deserted. 
Among the number was Jed Hubbard of Bristol, a member of Co. C, 
serving on the quota of New Hampton. A comrade of his had recently 
received a pair of new boots from home, and that evening all were 
bemoaning the want of wood with which to build a fire, when Jed 
said to his comrade, "You lend me your boots and I will get some wood 
if I have to go to New Hampshire for it." The boots were loaned, 


and Hubbard went to New Hampshire, and did not return till he was 
brought back many months later under arrest for desertion. 

On the morning of the 13th, we again started for the city and 
crossed the river on the upper bridge. At this time the battle was rag- 
ing in all its fury, the very ground trembling under our feet from the 
shock. There was a constant crash of musketry and thunder of artillery, 
and solid shot and shells were flying over our heads, both from tlte 
heights occupied by the Confederates and the Union guns on the east 
bank of the river. After reaching the city we remained some time on 
the west bank of the river in mud so deep it was almost impossible to 
move. The city had been hastily deserted by the inhabitants, when the 
bombardment commenced; nearly every building had been pierced with 
shot or shell, and many buildings, especially at the north end, had been 
destroyed by shot or fire. 

Soon there commenced to arrive from the battlefield stragglers and 
skulkers pale with fright; wounded men, some with wounds that would 
seem to make it impossible for them to walk, and ambulances filled with 
the wounded; all pressing for the pontoons to pass to the eastern side of 
the river. 

About 2 p. m. an orderly rode to the colonel and handed him a 
written order. He had hardly done this when the orderly's horse was 
killed under him. The colonel called "Attention, forward march," vaulted 
into his saddle, and the regiment moved up Amelia street to Princess 
Anne street, the third from the river, and then filed to the left, just in 
time to escape a storm of shot and shell that swept the street. When 
we halted, Co. D happened to be in front of a very fine residence, and 
took the lawn for a resting place. While there, I, with others, took a 
stroll through the house. It had evidently been the abode of wealth 
and refinement, but was now deserted and was trembling to its founda- 
tion with the shock of battle. While passing through the elegantly 
furnished drawing room, one man near me said, "Yes! it was the men 
who lived in such houses as this that brought on this war," and in his 
indignation he took a chair and with it struck the keyboard of a fine 
piano a blow that made kindling wood of the chair and badly damaged 
the instrument. 

At 4 p. m. we again moved, this time to Prince Edward street, 
the upper street of the city. On the way we passed a church that was 
being cleared for use as a hospital, the pews being thrown out of the 
windows. The belfry was at that time in use as a signal station. At 
this point the screechng of shot and shell was constant. One shell 
passed over Co. D, near the heads of the men, struck in the street near 
them, and exploded. Fortunately the shell was moving from us when 
it exploded and the pieces were thus carried by its momentum in the 
same direction, and none of the boys were hit. But this close call was 


naturally a stunner, and caused the column to break, and the boys for 
the moment lost all semblance of an organization. As the smallest 
corporal in the company, I was at the foot or left, and when this 
occurred I simply did my duty and endeavored to hurry the men back 
into the ranks. This was noticed by Capt. J. W. Lang, who was at the 
head of Co. I, the next in line. He reported the incident to Col. Marsh 
and, in consequence, I was later promoted to fill the first vacancy in the 
company as sergeant. 

All this time the battle had been raging furiously, and the slaughter 
of the Union troops in the vain effort to carry the well fortified heights 
of the enemy had been fearful and all for naught. Refugees from the 
front all told the same story of unavailing sacrifice, and, while we tried 
to find some consolation in arguing that these men were giving the dark 
side of the picture, still we could not but inwardly feel that the reports 
were probably true, as they proved to be. 

As we neared Prince Edward street, the crash of musketry was 
heavier than at any time previously, and we could almost see through 
the smoke of battle and the gathering shades of evening the flash from 
the guns of the opposing armies. This proved to be the final assault 
of the day, when Gen. Humphrey's division made the last desperate, 
but unavailing, effort to carry the enemy's works. Then the firing 
gradually ceased. 

We remained in Prince Edward street during the night. There 
was but little sleep for us, though the night was comparatively quiet. 
I tore a board from a fence and used it as a bed thereby preventing my 
body from sinking into the soft ground. In this way I got a little sleep. 

The next day, December 14, was Sunday. Gen. Burnside was not 
inclined to renew the fight of the day before, and Gen. Lee could well 
afford to remain where he was, behind his works on the heights. 

As daylight came the boys of the 12th began to look about them. 
In a yard close by were found several cows which the owners, being 
absent from the city, had neglected for several days. These were given 
prompt attention, and the milk they furnished was greatly enjoyed by 
the boys. A house near by was evidently vacated in a hurry, and in 
the basement was found everything needed for preparing food, and 
active operations were at once resumed by the boys. A dozen were 
promptly mixing flour for fritters, and the stove and range were sur- 
rounded by as many cooks, and if the fritters turned out were not light, 
they were at least palatable to hungry soldiers and disappeared with 
amazing rapidity. 

As the day advanced and the air cleared, we could plainly see the 
enemy's batteries on the heights, which seemed but a short distance 
away; but we were told that the distance was nearly a mile. 


The day passed uneventfully, and as night drew near, it became 
apparent that we might remain where we were during the night. In 
every house there were comfortable beds, but as we could not scatter 
and occupy the beds where they were, we concluded the beds must 
come to us, and so mattresses and feather beds and fine bedding were 
laid on the sidewalks, and weary soldiers with clothing and shoes on 
retired early to rest. 

At 12 o'clock I was called to draw rations for the company, which 
I did. A half hour later I again lay down, leaving the rations to be 
distributed in the morning. Two hours later there was a discharge of 
musketry at the front near us, when all hustled from bed in double 
quick time and marched to the support of a battery, just outside the 
city. Here we were ordered to lie down and remain perfectly quiet. 
Our position was a bleak one; a cold wind was blowing, and we keenly 
felt the exchange of our warm beds for the cold ground. From this 
position I made two trips with two men back to Prince Edward street 
for the rations I had drawn there, and then distributed them to the boys 
as they lay on the ground. When we first arrived at the battery I 
heard one of the gunners ask another what regiment had come to their 
support. "It is a New Hampshire regiment. I don't know which," he 
replied. "Well! we are all right then," said the first speaker. "The 
New Hampshire men fight." 

Monday, Dec. 15, was a day of inactivity. In the morning we 
returned to Prince Edward street, where we passed the day, and at 
dark returned to the support of the battery. During the early part of 
the night there was some picket firing and some musketry. The night 
was a horrible one. A cold wind pierced the heaviest clothing and 
rendered sleep impossible. The wooden shutters with which nearly 
all of the houses were provided were constantly slamming. Every dog 
in the city continued for hours a most dismal howling, and even the 
hogs joined in the chorus, and the bellowing of cattle was occasionally 
heard above all. I find penned in my journal these words: "It seemed 
as if all the hosts of hell were let loose in the city." 

After a few hours supporting the battery, we marched to the north 
part of the city, where we lay for a while in the open field, and then we 
returned to the city to Gen. Whipple's headquarters. The north part of 
the city had felt the blighting effect of the battle more than the rest. 
A large number of extensive buildings which appeared to be manu- 
factories had been destroyed by fire, and those that remained were 
shattered with shot and shell, and the wind whistled dismally through 
the ruins. Nearly every building in the city was wholly or partially 
destroyed, and it was evident that the fire of the enemy in its efforts to 
dislodge the Union troops had been more destructive than the bom- 


bardment of the Union army. All the churches, halls, and many of the 
dwellings that had escaped destruction were used as hospitals. 

Soon after two o'clock (Tuesday morning, the 16th) rain com- 
menced to fall in true Virginia style, and about the same time we com- 
menced to march on what proved to be the retreat of the army, though 
we did not realize this fact till we neared the pontoon bridges. It was 
with no light hearts that we recrossed the bridges, for this was an 
admission that the battle of Fredericksburg had been lost, and that the 
fearful sacrifice of thousands of brave men had been in vain. At this 
moment commenced the deep gloom that rested so long on the Army 
of the Potomac. 

Someone Had Blundered 

The battle of Fredericksburg will probably go down in history 
as perhaps the most stupendous blunder of the war. The one exten- 
uating feature was that Gen. Burnside knew he was not capable of 
commanding the Army of the Potomac and shrank from the respon- 
sibility of the position. Gen. Lee's army held St. Marye's heights, a 
mile back from Fredericksburg, and here he had had months in which 
to add to the natural strength of the position. All this time, Gen. Burn- 
side's army, vastly superior in numbers to that of Lee, had occupied 
the plain on the north side of the Rappahannock, opposite Fredericks- 
burg. The time had been occupied in drills and perfecting the army 
for the coming struggle, but one essential for success seems to have been 
overlooked. Gen. Burnside failed to inform himself concerning the na- 
ture of the ground he would have to pass over in making an attack. A 
canal, which ran parallel with the river, between the city and the heights, 
he refused to believe existed, though informed by competent authority; 
but when the supreme moment came, it was found to be there, and 
greatly retarded the advance of the assailants. 

Gen. Burnside sent across the river 113 men, under able corps 
commanders, while he remained at his headquarters at the Phillips 
mansion, a mile from the river, on the east side, but in full view of the 
scene of action. 

An attempt was made to carry the heights by a direct assault at 
various points; but every attempt was a failure. It could not be other- 
wise. Behind the stone wall and earthworks on St. Marye's heights 
were massed the infantry and artillery of the Southern army. Lead 
and iron were poured in a continuous stream into the ranks of the Union 
army, and thousands went down. It closed up its ranks, and pressed 
on, or retired and reformed and renewed the attack, only to meet with 
the same result — failure. Gen. Longstreet, of the Confederate army, 
in "Battles and Leaders," says that in front of his position six assaults 


were made, and every one repulsed, and that one man came within 
fifty feet of the stone wall; that the field was literally covered with the 
dead and wounded, and that "the dead were piled sometimes three 
deep"; that after the third assault the dead and wounded seriously 
impeded the advance of the assailants. 

This condition existed all along the line. The most desperate 
valor was displayed by the Northern soldiers, even though the humblest 
private was fully convinced that the attack could not succeed. Much 
has been said of Pickett's charge at Gettysburg, later in the war, but in 
that charge there was some hope that the 15,000 men hurled against one 
point of the Union line might succeed, but here there was none; and 
brave men faced almost certain death without any expectation of success. 

Tennyson has sung of the charge of the Light Brigade, and said 
"someone had blundered." That charge cost but about fifty lives, but 
the ground was covered by thousands because one had blundered. 

Gen. Hooker, seeing the hopelessness of continuing the struggle, 
sent an aid to Burnside to express his views and finally went in person 
to protest, but all to no avail; and the struggle went on. When night 
put an end to the struggle, 1200 gallant men were with the dead, and 
ten times that number had been wounded or were among the missing. 

Strange as it may seem, Gen. Burnside was resolved to renew the 
struggle the next day and to lead the assault in person. He issued 
orders to this effect, and was only deterred from his resolution by the 
united protest of all his corps commanders. 

It did not take long for the army to realize that a stupendous 
blunder had been committed, and it is not surprising that the morale 
of the army rapidly sank to a low point. The idea was openly expressed 
that the South could not be whipped, certainly not unless a great gen- 
eral could be found capable of leading the Union army, and yet Burnside 
was retained as the commander of the Army of the Potomac, and was 
to add the dismal "Mud March" to his record before he was removed. 

After fifty years of thinking and reading, we have failed to see or 
find a single reason why the common soldier in the ranks was not 
right when his judgment told him it was simply an awful, useless sac- 
rifice of life for Gen. Burnside to hurl his devoted army against a 
strongly entrenched foe on the heights of St. Marye, and the wonder 
has grown during all these years that the authorities at Washington 
should have permitted it. During all the war, at least up to the time 
when Grant took the supreme command, the authorities at Washington 
knew in advance every contemplated move of the army, but in this case 
the manner of assault could not have been known by them. 

One incident connected with the battle may be mentioned here, 
though I was not personally concerned. At the time the march to 
the pontoons commenced, Co.s F and C were on picket duty, and, 


either through an oversight or design to keep the picket line intact and 
thus deceive the enemy as to the movement being made, no orders were 
given for their withdrawal. After the 12th regiment had crossed the 
pontoons, Lt. Col. Marsh went back to the west shore and withdrew 
these companies, but so great was his haste that he forgot the men 
posted on the picket line. Sergt. H. A. Randolph in charge of the 
pickets from these companies discovered the true situation a few minutes 
later, and they proceeded on the double quick to the river, which they 
reached just as the last planks were being removed from the pontoons, 
but they passed over in safety. 

After marching through the mud and rain till 8 o'clock on Tuesday, 
the 16th, the 12th regiment entered its old camp and took possession of 
its old quarters. 

On arriving in camp, rounds of cheers were given for Col. Potter 
and Lt. Col. Marsh. The regiment had passed through a battle where 
the losses had been appalling and had suffered but little. The reason 
for its good fortune undoubtedly was that it had in common with the 
rest of the 3d corps been on reserve. Different portions of the corps 
had been detached from time to time to strengthen weak points, or repel 
expected attacks. The 12th had been moved from point to point with 
the same end in view, and, fortunately, had escaped the brunt of the 
battle. In every case its officers had obeyed orders, but, in the minds of 
the masses, it was Col. Potter's superior judgment that had saved them; 
and the same lack of reason that had failed to see any good in him up to 
this time, because he was not their chosen leader, now gave him the 
credit of their good fortune. From that time forward he was the idol 
of the regiment. Soon after this, the officers made the colonel the 
present of a fine horse costing $200, and then the enlisted men, not to 
be outdone, contributed $230. They sent a sergeant to Washington 
and had a saddle and bridle made to order, costing $200, and both were 
formally presented to the colonel, who was deeply affected by this 
manifestation of good will. 

The change of feeling of the men of the regiment towards its com- 
mander was extended to the governor of the state. His appointment 
had proven wise, and so they were willing to forgive the past, and he 
was invited to visit the regiment. The governor gladly accepted the 
invitation, and a royal welcome was extended him. He was accom- 
panied by J. C. Draper and David Mason, both of Bristol. General 
Whipple, the division commander, had a review of his division, in honor 
of the governor and in the evening, there was a notable gathering of 
distinguished officers, in the 12th quarters. The governor shook hands 
with the men, and speeches were made by General Bowman, and 
responded to by the governor. Lieut. John H. Durgin, of the 12th, 
spoke words of weleome in behalf of the regiment. 



Life in camp soon resumed much the same order as before the bat- 
tle, and we soon came to the conclusion that no other move would be 
made that winter. With this in view, most of the tents were rebuilt on 
a larger scale. My tent was enlarged to 7 x 9 feet, and the walls made 
four feet high, and it was 7 feet to the ridgepole, which enabled one to 
stand upright in the center. In one end we had two bunks, one above 
the other, each for two men, which left about half the space for a living 
room. On one side we had a large fireplace to furnish heat and enable 
us to do a part of our cooking, though most of this was done by the 
company cooks. My tent mates at this time were Louis Rowe of Bris- 
tol, Rev. Asa Witham of Laconia, and William H. Straw of Hill. 

While in camp at Falmouth, the making of baker's bread was 
commenced for the 3d Corps near our quarters. The levelled ground 
constituted the bottom of the ovens, and on this, large concave sheets 
of iron, which constituted the tops, were placed, thus forming large 
ovens. The tops were covered with earth, and the heat from the fires 
made inside was thus retained for a long time. Here most excellent 
bread was baked by a corps of bakers, and we thus enjoyed the luxury 
of a soft bread ration. 

Sunday morning, Jan. 11, Rev. John Chamberlain, of Canterbury, 
N. H., state agent to look after the New Hampshire soldiers, preached 
to the men of the 12th. As he was preparing to sing a closing original 
selection, entitled "The Railroad Hymn," Lieut. Col. Marsh interrupted 
him, saying he wished to dismiss the regiment, as he feared the men 
would take cold owing to the damp weather, and he then directed the 
chaplain to close the services with prayer. Mr. Chamberlain felt insulted 
at this action and declined to preach in the afternoon. 

At this time many were sick and the regimental hospital was 
crowded to its utmost capacity. Fever was the prevailing sickness, 
but much sickness was caused by homesickness. Scores died, pining for 
home. On Monday morning, Jan. 12, the remains of six, who had died 
during the night., were removed from the hospital tent and laid on the 
bare ground outside. Among the number was Milo Fogg of Co. D. 
When Comrade Weeks was buried, Nov. 27, Fogg was asked to fall in 
with the rest of the company, to attend the burial, but declined, and, 
to the remark that he might need to be followed to the grave, replied 
that he did not care whether anyone followed him to the grave or not. 


It seemed a little singular that Comrade Fogg should be the next to 
need these services from Co. D, but such was the case. During the next 
24 hours death claimed 7 more of the regiment — one from Co. D, James 
T. Calley of Hill. 

On the 14th, Samuel Page came to visit the boys from Bristol. His 
chief business was to visit John F. Chase of Co. D, who was sick in a 
Georgetown hospital. The next day, Jan. 15, I went with Mr. Page to 
visit the Bristol boys in the 9th regiment. From there we went a little 
farther, from which point we could view the entrenchments of the enemy 
on the west side of the Rappahannock. On our way back to camp we 
saw a long pontoon train moving up the river, which clearly indicated 
a move of the army in the near future. On our return, the report of this 
movement and its significance was soon being discussed by the entire 

Our surmises were verified, and the next day, Friday, Jan. 16, the 
first order was received by the 12th regiment, putting in operation the 
movement known in history as the Mud March. Gen. Burnside deter- 
mined to cross the Rappahannock and flank the Confederate army, still 
entrenched at Fredericksburg. The crossing was to be at United States 
ford, 12 miles above Fredericksburg, but this plan changed, when 
starting, to Banks ford, four miles nearer Fredericksburg. 

For the Mud March the first order notified the army to be ready to 
march at daylight the next morning with three days' rations and sixty 
rounds of ammunition. When the morning came, the order wai counter- 
manded and the time of marching was set for one o'clock on the 18th. 
Before this hour arrived the order was again changed. On the 19th 
the hour was again postponed for 24 hours. 

About noon on Tuesday, Jan. 20, we started, but, after going about 
100 rods, stacked arms, and there stood till sometime after dark, a cold 
wind blowing all the time. About 5 o'clock it commenced to rain. 
Finally Col. Potter took the responsibility to march his regiment back 
to its old quarters. 

When we reached our old quarters we found that sick soldiers from 
another regiment had taken possession of the 12th Regt. encampment, 
and pitched their tents on our old frameworks. In my tent were two 
from Co. B, 124th N. Y. Regt. These men were attracted to our quar- 
ters by their attractiveness, and the reputation of the quarters of the 12th 
Regt. for superiority extended throughout the corps. We could not 
have the heart to turn these poor men out in the cold and rain, so we 
went to work to improve the situation. We built a fire, but there were 
now too many of us to lie down, and yet we got some sleep. All night 
long the rain fell in torrents. 

At four o'clock the next morning Lieut. Morrill came round and 
notified our company to be ready to move in one hour, so we cooked 


our breakfast and ate it. When we looked out that morning the face of 
the country was strangely changed from what it was the day before, 
being thickly covered with the tents of the Army of the Potomac as 
it had halted the afternoon or evening before, even our own parade 
ground being covered. Previous to this move there were no other 
troops in our immediate vicinity. 

About noon of that day (Thursday, Jan. 21), contrary to general 
expectation, the advance movement was again commenced amid a 
storm of the elements and a storm of curses from officers and men. 
All that afternoon we struggled on through mud more than ankle deep, 
and went into camp after covering only about three miles. 

No pen can properly describe that march. It was through a sea 
of mud. Roads were soon obliterated and no attempt was made to 
follow them. Artillery and baggage trains were soon so deeply mired 
that a dozen horses or mules could hardly move one piece. Many of 
the men, exhausted in trying to drag their weary limbs through the 
clayey mud, in utter disregard of what would be their necessity when 
night came, threw away their blankets and overcoats, which soon dis- 
appeared in the mud beneath the feet of the men. 

From sheer inability to move farther, the army went into camp on 
the second day in woods about five miles from our old quarters. During 
our march the rain continued to fall, and every hour added to the seri- 
ousness of the situation. That it would be impossible to continue the 
march and accomplish the object of the move was apparent to the hum- 
blest private in the ranks. 

During the next day (22d), there was no attempt made to move, 
but rumors of a return to our old quarters were rife, and on the morn- 
ing of the 23d the whole army was set to work with all the tools avail- 
able, building corduroy roads, and these roads led back to camp 
instead of in the direction of the enemy. 

About 4 o'clock of that day we commenced our march back, 
cheered by the warm rays of the sun, which had now commenced to 
shine. On arriving at our old quarters, a gill of whisky was issued 
to each man. 

Fighting Joe Hooker 

At this time the morale of the army was at a low ebb. The whole 
history of the Army of the Potomac was not such as to inspire confi- 
dence, and under the command of General Burnside had come the dis- 
aster of Fredericksburg and now the folly of the Mud March. The men 
in the ranks could reason, and, judging the future by the past, some 
thought it useless to continue the struggle, and nearly all looked into 
the future with many misgivings. 

The authorities at Washington finally grasped the situation, and 
on the 25th of January Gen. Burnside was relieved and Gen. Hooker 
placed in command of the army. 


Great things were expected of Fighting Joe Hooker, and instantly 
there was a change for the better. One of the first orders issued by Gen. 
Hooker was one allowing one or two men in each hundred a furlough of 
15 days. This order alone wonderfully revived the spirits of the men. 
One of my tent mates, Elder Witham, was the first to go from Co. D. 
Sergt. H. A. Randolph, of Co. C, was granted a furlough, but the day 
before he was to start for home he had the misfortune to break his leg. 
Some of the men thus favored failed to return, and the result was that 
after the first installment few furloughs were granted. I had been 
informed by the company officers that I would probably be the next 
choice from Co. D, but no more furloughs were granted from our com- 
pany or regiment. 

On Saturday, the 31st day of January, 1863, the 12th Regt. was, 
for the first time, detailed for picket duty. After this, the regiment 
was detailed for this duty about once in three weeks. Our position was 
usually near the banks of the Rappahannock from three to five miles 
from camp, and our term of service was three or four days. On one 
occasion we were on the east bank of the river and could plainly see 
the enemy's pickets on the other side and talked with them. At this 
time their pickets rigged up a board or plank with a sail and loaded 
on it some tobacco and a southern paper, and we agreed to send back 
some delicacy and a northern paper, in return. The craft was put in 
motion and sailed straight for our shore, but when nearly across, it was 
capsized by a sudden squall, and their efforts came to naught at that 
time. At other times the exchange of compliments between the pickets 
was successful and far more agreeable than exchanges of bullets under 
other circumstances. 

On one occasion I was one of a provost guard that scoured the 
country outside of our lines for suspicious characters. We made 
several arrests, and I was sent back to camp with one man who was 
on horseback, but the fact that he was mounted was about all that 
could be proved against him, so he was released. 

On one of these trips we were made very uncomfortable by a heavy 
fall of snow, and, when we returned to our old quarters, we found the 
weight of the snow had broken down the cloth roofs of our quarters. 

Previous to this the 12th Regt. had not been brigaded, but had been 
in the 3d division of the 3d Army Corps, commanded by Gen. Stoneman. 
On the 8th of February, orders announced the resignation of Gen. 
Stoneman. Gen. Sickles succeeded him in the command of the 3d corps, 
and on Feb. 19, the 12th Regt. was brigaded with the 1st and 2d 
regiments U. S. Sharpshooters and the 110 Penn. Vols. 

On the 6th of March, the regiment was in line preparatory to march- 
ing to the picket line, when there was an exhibition of the impetuous 
temper of Lt.-Col. Marsh. Sergt. Frank Darling of Co. C, a Bristol 


boy, did not put in an appearance on account of illness. Col. Marsh 
called him from his quarters and cut the stripes from his arms in the 
presence of the regiment. Dr. Fowler appeared about this time and 
swore Darling was not able to go on picket, and should not go. The 
surgeon could excuse a man from duty in spite of the commanding offi- 
cer, but he could not prevent Darling from being reduced to the ranks, 
and so he had to suffer unjustly. 

On Wednesday, March 11, after battalion drill the regiment was 
formed en masse and 13 prisoners, members of the regiment, were 
brought up and the sentences of a general court martial read. Most of 
these were men who had deserted in front of Fredericksburg. One 
member of my company, William Martin, of Sanbornton Bridge, had 
been tried for desertion at the time the regiment started on the Mud 
March. Martin was sentenced to forfeit $10 per month of his pay for 
the remainder of his term of service and to be kept at hard labor at the 
Rip Raps. The hard labor part of this sentence was remitted, and 
Martin continued with his company, and fought valiantly at Chancel- 
lorsville a few weeks later, dying from the effects of wounds there 

On the 17th the monotony of camp life was broken by the sound of 
heavy cannonading up the river. The day before a large force of our 
cavalry crossed the river to return a call made by the rebel cavalry a 
short time before, and this morning a sharp engagement ensued, but 
without material results, and this was the firing we heard. 

The same day an order was read at dress parade, making me a ser- 
geant. This promotion elated me more than any other advancement or 
honor conferred upon me in the army or in civil life. It carried an in- 
crease in pay of only two dollars a month, so money was not thought of 
in this connection, but I had been promoted for doing my duty at Fred- 
ericksburg, and that was of great moment to me. A day or two later, 
a large number of express boxes — two army wagon loads — were received 
from their homes by the boys. I was one of the favored ones and in 
my box was a great variety of cooked food — great delicacies — and per- 
haps a quart of popping corn. I had wanted to treat the boys on the 
occasion of my promotion and now the question of how to do it was 
solved. I popped the whole of that corn for a treat. While engaged 
in popping this corn its fragrance drew many of the comrades to my 
tent, and the only way to escape a premature treat was to divulge my 
plans. Thus all the boys knew what was coming and all were on hand, 
and as soon as the treat was ready they fell into line, marched past my 
quarters, and each received a portion. This made all the boys happy, 
including the giver. It was a choice morsel and a vivid reminder of 
other days around the home circle. 


Lincoln Reviews the Army 

On the 6th of April, I witnessed a grand review of the cavalry and 
artillery of the Army of the Potomac by President Lincoln, on the plain, 
about a mile from our encampment. There were 15,000 or 20,000 horse- 
men and many batteries. It was a most impressive exhibition. Two 
hours were occupied in passing the president, and the tramp of the 
horses over the soft ground sounded like a distant waterfall. 

The next day President Lincoln visited the various encampments. 
Our regiment was drawn up in line to receive him. He was accom- 
panied by a large number of generals and their staffs, and a regiment 
of Lancers followed behind as a body guard. President Lincoln wore 
a tall black hat, his feet nearly reached to the ground, and his great 
height, clothed in civilian's dress as he was, was in striking contrast to 
the rest of the company. As he passed along the front of our line the 
regiment presented arms, the drum corps played and then the boys all 
joined in giving lusty cheers. President Lincoln returned the salute 
by raising his hat. 

This visit was preceded by a humorous event. The president and 
retinue passed through the regimental street to reach the parade ground. 
In this street a limb of a tree projected over the street high enough for 
the ordinary man mounted, wearing a military hat, to pass under, but 
the tall hat which Lincoln wore came in contact with that limb, and the 
hat fell to the ground. An orderly promptly handed the hat to the 
owner, who replaced it on his head. This was in plain view of the regi- 
ment and of course a smile passed along the line as the result. 

The next day President Lincoln reviewed the infantry of the Army 
of the Potomac Although each battalion marched in close order by 
division, three hours were consumed in passing the reviewing stand. 
In general orders issued after the review, the 12th was one of the regi- 
ments commended for its good appearance, and worthy of special praise. 
The sight was a grand one, but would have been enjoyed more by all, 
had it not been for the fact that a cold piercing wind blew all day, and 
we had several hours of waiting to do in heavy marching order, before 
our turn came, and then, too, came the thought that this great army was 
only assembled to meet another great army, each bent on the destruc- 
tion of the other. 



By the middle of April came signs that the great campaign of 1863 
was about to open. The 15th of the month brought with it the greatest 
downpour of rain of the season, but pleasant weather was sure to follow, 
and the same day came orders to be ready to march with three days' 
rations in the haversack and five in the knapsacks. We were also 
ordered to take rubber blankets and shelter tents, but no woolen blank- 
ets and no extra clothing except overcoats. 

In order the better to understand the part played by the 12th Regt , 
N. H. Vols., in which I was an actor, a brief account of the general sit- 
uation and the battle of Chancellorsville is here given. 

Gen. Lee still held the Confederate army on Marye's heights, back 
of Fredericksburg, in a strong position behind entrenchments. Gen. 
Hooker was in command of the Federal forces. Great things were 
expected of "Fighting Joe Hooker." He had a superb army of 130,000 
enthusiastic, well-disciplined troops, who had unbounded faith in their 
leader, despite the reverses that had attended their efforts under other 
leadership. Lee had an army of only about 60,000. Hooker's plan of 
the battle has always been considered a wise one. It was to attack the 
Confederates in their rear, and thus force them to meet him in the open, 
where his superiority in numbers would count. With this end in view, 
he sent Gen. Sedgwick in command of three army corps, the 1st, 3d, and 
6th, to make a demonstration below Fredericksburg to give the impres- 
sion that the main attack was to be at this point. With the main body 
of the army he marched 27 miles up the east bank of the Rappahannock, 
crossed the river at Kelley's ford, and then down the river to Chancel- 
lorsville, a few miles only above Fredericksburg, and there halted, and, 
strange as it may seem, at once assumed the offensive. This gave Gen. 
Lee an immense advantage. He hurled the larger part of his force on 
weak points on Hooker's line and then hurled the same men against 
Gen. Sedgwick, who was advancing from the south with 22,000 men and 
defeated him. 

Gen. Hooker had marched his army through the thick woods on 
the south side of the river in which no army could be maneuvered to 
advantage, and reached the open country north of Fredericksburg, 
where his superiority in numbers would have counted — the very spot 
that he seemingly intended to reach, and there halted. Here he seemed 
to have experienced a mental collapse, and in every respect was unequal 


to the occasion. The enigma of the battle of Chancellorsville has 
never been solved and probably never will be. The charge of drunken- 
ness on the part of Hooker, largely believed by the army after the 
battle, was disproved by a court of inquiry, and if the findings of the 
court were correct, the contentions of his friends may also be correct, 
and that was that Gen. Hooker resolved to be in his normal condition 
at this time and therefore took no stimulants, and his mind, therefore, 
accustomed as it was to daily draughts of intoxicants, failed to act with 
its usual vigor — in fact, that he collapsed from the want of stimulants. 
Whichever point of view is taken one sees in the result a tremendous 
temperance lesson. There is another view taken by some of the con- 
dition of Gen. Hooker, and that is that the long and severe strain on 
his nerves in planning the campaign and executing the first part of it 
had resulted of itself in a collapse of his mental capacity — that his mind 
ceased to act. He had been unable to rise to the supreme importance 
of the hour when his full vigor was most needed. The same has 
occurred in the history of other great generals, and even of Napoleon 
himself, when, after long continued strain, the mind refused to work 
till rested. "Psychologists tell us that these transitions are frequently of 
lightning-like suddenness," and so here may have been a cause for 
which Hooker was not responsible. 

After having reached the open country, and with victory almost 
in his grasp, he ordered his advance back into the woods, and then 
assumed the defensive. The point vacated was near Banks ford, less 
than three miles above Fredericksburg, where a junction was expected 
with Sedgewick, who was fighting his way up from below the city. 
On the north side of the river at this ford was massed a large artillery 
force, ammunition and army trains, which were to join the main army 
as soon as the ford was uncovered. This order was such a surprise to 
the commanding officers that Gen. Couch sought to have it recalled, 
but to no effect, and it was reluctantly obeyed. When falling back, 
the order was countermanded, but it was too late; the enemy had 
already occupied the position vacated. This move sealed the fate of the 
battle. Gen. Lee at once occupied the ground abandoned by the Union 
troops and was able to whip the Union army in detail. 

On Saturday, the second day of the fight, in the afternoon, a large 
body of Confederates were seen moving west along the front of the 
Union army. Gen. Hooker deluded himself that these troops were 
retreating, but they proved to be Gen. Jackson's force of 35,000 men 
marching 17 miles to attack the army on the left flank and rear. The 
11th corps, under Gen. Howard, occupied the extreme left, facing south 
and was in no position to meet an attack from the west and rear. Gen. 
Schurz, who commanded a division of this corps, asserts that he was 
convinced, and so were many other officers of his division, that the 


troops seen were not retreating but marching to gain a position at their 
right and rear and so reported repeatedly to Gen. Howard, but he 
shared the opinion of Gen. Hooker so strongly as to the retreat that no 
new alignment of the corps was made to meet the assault of Gen. 
Jackson. Towards night the assault came with terrific force, and the 
disastrous rout of the 11th corps occurred, threatening the safety of the 
entire army. This corps was composed largely of Germans, and for 
a long time these loyal Germans rested under the stigma of being 
cowards, when the responsibility of their defeat rested largely on the 
shoulders of Gen. Howard. 

But the attack under Jackson on the 11th corps was dearly bought 
for its intrepid leader, late in the evening, while reconnoitering was 
severely wounded by his own men, and died a few days later; and the 
Confederate army lost its most valuable leader, next to Lee, and his 
next in command also fell. 

On the third day of the fight, when the 12th Regiment suffered so 
severely, had Hooker thrown his reserve into action victory might even 
then have been won, for 35,000 troops under Meade had not fired a 
gun. Unfortunately on this day during the fiercest of the fight Gen. 
Hooker was incapacitated by a shot which struck a pillar at the Chan- 
cellorsville house against which he was leaning, and he was rendered 
unconscious ; and remained so for an hour or two, and no one stepped 
into his place. 

On the fifth day the army retreated, and imbecility even in retreat 
was shown by Gen. Hooker. He and his staff crossed the river at 
United States ford and left the army to follow. A great rain raised 
the river to the danger point, and one of the three bridges was used to 
strengthen the other two, and here, on the west bank of the river wait- 
ing to cross, were massed from 7,000 to 8,000 troops. A single shell 
thrown into this mass of humanity might have caused a panic that 
would have been fearful to contemplate, but, fortunately for the Union 
army, Gen. Lee was willing that they should depart without making 
any effort to impede their movement. 

The losses of the Union army are given in official records as 1,082 
killed; 6,849 wounded; 4,214 captured or missing; a total of 12,145. 

With these explanatory notes we resume our narrative. The 
orders to be ready to march came as before stated Apr. 15, but no 
movement was made till 2 o'clock in the afternoon of Apr. 28. Then 
the boys fell in in remarkably good spirits, considering the possible 
work ahead, and some jocosely remarked we were starting for Rich- 
mond or the grave. With Joe Hooker to lead or direct all felt sure of 
success. We marched briskly most of the time for three or four hours 
without rest, then loitered along with frequent stops, but without 
orders to rest till after eleven o'clock p. m., when we bivouacked for 


the balance of the night. We laid our rubbers on the ground, put on 
our overcoats, spread shelter tents over us, and, though cold, slept 

The next morning we were awakened by the sound of musketry 
and cannon, and about 7 o'clock we fell in and marched about a mile 
further south to a place on the north bank of the Rappahannock, below 
Fredericksburg. There we lay all day, which was a mystery to us 
then, but we later knew that our march to this point was simply to 
blind the enemy as to the real purpose of Hooker. Three corps, the 
1st, 3d and 6th under Gen. Sedgewick, had marched to this point below 
the city to give the enemy the idea that the real attack was to be made 
there, while Hooker, with the main army, was intending to attack the 
enemy on its left flank, above the city at Chancellorsville. A portion 
of these troops, about 12,000, had crossed the river on pontoons, and 
had deployed in line of battle below the city. The 3d corps, under 
Sickles, in which was the 12th Regiment, was held on the east bank, 
but in plain view of the enemy in order to carry out the delusion. 
From the point where we spent the day I could see on the other side 
of the river both armies drawn up in battle array, but neither side 
sought to bring on an engagement. A captive baloon high in the air 
above us was making observations. 

We remained here over night and the morning hours were wear- 
ing away when a courier dashes up and hands a paper to the adjutant. 
This was read at once to the regiment and was an order from Gen. 
Hooker, in which he said that the operations of the last three days had 
determined that the enemy must ingloriously fly or come out from be- 
hind his defenses and fight us on our own ground, "where certain de- 
struction awaited him." 

The men went wild with joy. Hats and caps went into the air, 
and they cheered as they never had cheered before. The same news 
was given to the other regiments, and cheering and martial music were 
heard in all directions. 

Whether there was sufficient ground for this exuberance of spirit 
on the part of the commanding general, is a matter of doubt, but it 
served a good purpose and wonderfully sustained the men during the 
test of endurance that the later hours of the day were to call forth. 

While this show of force was being made south of Fredericks- 
burg, Hooker was crossing the Rappahannock above, as before stated. 
The next move was for the 3d Corps under Sickles to join Hooker, in 
the shortest time possible. Leaving Sedgewick with his two corps 
on the west bank of the river, the 3d Corps started about 1 o'clock 
p. m. on a forced march for the right wing of the army. It made a 
long detour from the river, keeping in the ravines or out of sight as 
much as possible, hoping, though it would seem without reason, to 


keep this movement from the knowledge of the enemy. That Gen. 
Lee knew of these movements and their object is a matter of history. 

The day was intensely hot, the dry clayey soil of Virginia was 
quickly transformed into dust by the marching men, horses and artil- 
lery, and the air was so heavily laden with the particles of earth that 
one could see but a few feet in any direction. Water was scarce, and 
the halts to find it or to rest were very few. On, on we pressed, 
much of the time on almost the double quick, until it seemed that each 
step must be the last. My feet were sore and blistered, but I was not 
as badly off as many others whose shoes had given out entirely. All 
along, the route was strewn with blankets, overcoats and shelter tents, 
thrown away by the men to lighten their loads. 

Finally at about 1 o'clock that night, having reached a point near 
Hartwood church, 18 or 20 miles from where we had started, a halt 
was called for the remainder of the night. 

As soon as the order was given for a halt, a rush was made for a 
small sandy brook close by, and so anxious were the men for a drink 
or to secure water for coffee, or their canteens, that they got into the 
stream like a herd of cattle and soon the water was thick with sand. 
Up to this time I had acted on a school boy notion that coffee was 
injurious, but this night I drank hot coffee and, though I strained it 
as well as I could through my lips to keep as much of the sand as pos- 
sible from entering my mouth, I found it so refreshing that I was 
henceforth a great coffee drinker. 

Coffee and hardtack promptly disposed of, it was but the work of 
a minute to spread our blankets on the ground, and we were soon in 
blissful sleep. 

At four o'clock in the morning, reveille sounded, and we opened 
our eyes and arose from our beds sore and stiff from the overexertions 
of the day before. 

As soon as a hasty breakfast had been swallowed, the march was 
resumed, but we did not march as fast, or as far, as the day before. 
We had evidently arrived within supporting distance of the right wing 
and so there was not the necessity for haste that existed then. We 
crossed the Rappahannock on pontoons at United States ford, near 
Chancellorsville, and our march was practically over by noon. Within 
less than 24 hours from the time of starting the day before we had 
covered nearly or quite 30 miles. Considering that each man carried 
his musket and equipments, knapsack, haversack, and canteen, perhaps 
40 lbs. in all, besides extra rations for five days, the march was a great 

Soon after crossing the ford, we entered extensive woods on the 
south side of the river and we could hear firing occasionally a little 
way in advance. This continued for some hours. At four o'clock, 


by command of the colonel, every man snapped a cap on the tube of 
his musket to clear it, loaded his piece, and then fell in in light march- 
ing order, one man of each company being left to guard the packs. 
We marched toward the front about two miles, and formed in line of 
battle, where we remained till half past ten o'clock. After sunset the 
air was very chilly, and we gladly obeyed the command to return to 
the place where we had left our packs, where we bivouacked for four 
hours, and then again fell in, taking all our belongings with us. The 
first gun of the day was fired about 5 o'clock, and desultory firing was 
now kept up almost continuously by troops in advance of us. 

Cheering reports continued to encourage the men. One was to 
the effect that Gen. Hooker had the rebel army surrounded and would 
hold them with a fast grip till they surrendered. Another reported 
the enemy in rapid retreat. Some were ready to cheer at each favor- 
able report, others expressed their doubts, while others hoped for the 
best and waited. This was Saturday morning, May 2, and one of 
those beautiful mornings that come to Virginia at this season of the 
year, but beneath her skies were gathered two mighty armies of kins- 
men, with all the modern appliances of war, determined on destroying 
each other. 

Just before we moved, that morning, Rev. and Lieutenant John M. 
Durgin mounted a stump and gave a five minute patriotic talk. He 
reminded his hearers that the hour of action had come, and expected 
all to do their duty like men. Never a more attentive audience listened 
to a speaker than those who caught his words in the wilderness of 
Chancellorsville. The next day the speaker was left for dead on the 

After falling in we marched to the Fredericksburg plank road, and 
on that passed the Chancellorsville house, a large two-story, brick, plan- 
tation house where Hooker had established his headquarters. A short 
distance beyond we turned to the left and followed a narrow path 
through a piece of woods, and then turned to the right, where we 
halted for two or three hours. Here were signs that fighting had 
taken place before our arrival. Rails from the fences had been piled 
up and covered with green boughs, evidently to shield sharp shooters, 
and there were other signs of fighting. Our artillery on elevated 
ground a little in our advance was playing into the enemy's trains, and 
it was said that the enemy was retreating. Later it was found that the 
troops in front were those of Jackson, marching to gain a position in 
the rear of the 11th Corps. The theory of a retreat was believed by 
many, as it was in keeping with the information given by Gen. Hooker, 
but I noticed that many who had seen long service in the Army of the 
Potomac, shook their heads in derision when such an idea was advanced. 

From this position we advanced in line of battle. In making this 


movement we came under musketry fire, but an order to lie down was 
instantly obeyed and only one or two were wounded. Resuming the 
advance, we waded a brook nearly waist deep, and then halted. Cos. 
F and G, the extreme left companies, were advanced farther than the 
rest of the regiment, as an advanced guard, or to cover a retreat. As 
the left general guide of the regiment, my place in action was with the 
left company, so I was with Co. F at this time. 

It was while we were here the latter part of the afternoon tha^ the 
disaster to the 11th Corps occurred, and the 12th Regt. was hastily 
withdrawn. Cos. G and F came near being captured, for, as at Fred- 
ericksburg, no orders were given for their withdrawal when the rest 
of the regiment was withdrawn till Lt.-Col. Marsh, obtaining permis- 
sion, went back at the risk of being captured himself, and withdrew 
them. We marched, or double quicked, for nearly half a mile through 
the woods with Johnnies on either flank, all unconscious of our presence, 
or we of theirs, and when we rejoined the rest of the regiment there 
was general rejoicing, for all had thought we had fallen into the hands 
of the enemy. 

The 11th Corps, occupying a position at our right and near where 
we were in the position last spoken of, had been stampeded by an unex- 
pected onslaught of Stonewall Jackson's division of the rebel army 
before spoken of. This was nothing less than a disaster, and seriously 
threatened the safety of the whole army. It appears that all this might 
have been avoided had the commanding officer of the 11th Corps, Gen. 
Howard, listened to frequent reports that the enemy were making 
movements at the right, that indicated an attack from that direction 
in the rear of the 11th Corps. 

But while the panic stricken 11th Corps was rushing headlong to 
the rear, followed by Jackson's victorious troops, Major Keenan and 
his 400 cavalrymen hurled themselves against the advancing foe, Berry's 
division of the 3d Corps and the bayonet, and Sickles and Pleasanter 
came to their aid with 25 cannon, which double shotted with grape 
and canister covered the ground with rebel dead and stayed the advance 
of the enemy. It was just at this time that the 12th Regiment arrived 
on the scene to the support of the batteries. 

We rested during the night on the ground fiercely fought over 
during the latter part of the day. Near by the surgeons were operat- 
ing on the wounded, and wet clothes and chilly winds were not the only 
cause of our inability to sleep as we lay on our arms that night, for the 
groans of the unfortunates pierced the night air and the hot work sure 
to come with the morning was not conducive to sleep. Besides, 
there occasionally reached our ears the exultant cheers of the rebel 
hosts as the news of the victory of the afternoon spread from one part 
of the rebel army to the other. About midnight Gen. Birney made 


an attack on the enemy within full view of our position, drove them 
back a short distance, and recaptured a part of the 11th Corps guns. 

With the dawn of day our forces commenced to fall back and make 
new alignments. The rebels followed and commenced a spirited firing, 
when the Union army faced about and returned the fire. The 12th 
Regt. at this time was in the second line of battle. Our position was 
along a brook, where we were commanded to lie down. Perhaps 
forty rods in front, the first line engaged the enemy and sought to 
stay his advance. In our rear, batteries were placed so near that the 
heat from the guns as they were discharged was plainly felt by us, 
and the shot and shells screeched as they passed over us. 

While lying there, close to my side were Henry and Uriah Kidder, 
brothers, both from Bristol. Uriah turned to me and said, "Richard, 
Henry is dead." I looked and saw a ball had struck him on the top 
of his head and passed out near his right eye. He did not move after 
being struck. He was one of three killed while we lay at the brook, 
and here quite a number were wounded. 

After lying here a while, Gen. Whipple, the commander of our 
division, directed Col. Potter to advance his regiment into the woods 
and hold the enemy in check at all hazard. It was currently reported 
after the fight, and generally believed, that a regiment at our right re- 
ceived similar orders, but that no efforts of their officers could induce 
them to breast the fierce fire ahead. Be that as it may, they did not 
advance; and the 12th did, and here the real work of the day for us com- 
menced. Reaching the crest of a hill, Col. Potter halted his men and 
pointing to the woods beyond said, "There the devils are. Give them 

We had reached a position on a knoll near the edge of the woods, 
and the rebels were further in the woods on lower ground and on the 
side of a hill beyond. Thus they could see us better than we could 
see them. 

We poured a deadly fire into their ranks and prevented for a time 
a further advance of this part of their line, and here we held our 
ground till all the Union troops on our left and right had retreated, and 
the rebels had advanced to our rear on both flanks. At one time a 
Zouave regiment came to our aid at our left, but after firing one volley 
retreated in double quick time. They were old fighters and perhaps 
took in the real situation quicker than we did, for this was our first 
musketry engagement, and we did not know enough to retreat. 

We opened a brisk fire upon the Johnnies the moment we halted, 
and we received as effective fire from them in return, and our men fell 
rapidly. We neither retreated nor advanced,, and it was not long before 
one half of our men lay dead or wounded in a long windrow along 
our line. Capt. O. W. Keyes of Ashland, who commanded Co. D, at 


that time, was shot through the heart as he stood close by my side. 
When struck he sprang into the air, then dropped dead at my feet. He 
had been wounded while we were at the brook, but refused to retire. 
All the field officers were wounded and all but two of the line officers 
were among the dead or wounded. 

Our men had sixty rounds of ammunition when we went into the 
fight, and they stood in their tracks about an hour and a half and ex- 
pended all their ammunition, and some gathered more from the car- 
tridge boxes of the dead. 

The non-commissioned officers were provided with tourniquets 
made of metal and an elastic band, for use in case of need in action. 
I had one, and during the fight placed it around the leg of Comrade 
George Swain, who was badly wounded in the leg. It checked the flow 
of blood, but the poor fellow died of his wounds the same day. 

Finally, after all had fallen or retired but a handful of perhaps 25 
men, of whom I was one, Lieut. E. E. Bedee, who was then the rank- 
ing officer of the regiment, gave the command to load and lie down. 
The boys hesitated to obey, and Bedee, seeing the Johnnies advancing, 
gave the order, "Rally round the flag, boys, and get out of this." This 
order was obeyed with alacrity and none too soon. The Johnnies were 
close at our heels and in advance of us on the right and the left. 
While on the retreat, several of our few survivors fell. One poor fel- 
low who was running at my right, I did not know who, fell, with a 
piercing cry of pain or terror. About the same time a ball struck the 
stock of my musket and knocked it from my hand and numbed my 
fingers. I kept on without waiting to pick up my musket, making the 
best time possible, as did all the rest. From the woods to the Chan- 
cellorsville house, a distance of perhaps half a mile, was an open field, 
and over this we had to pass, and it seems a wonder that any man 
could pass through the storm of shot and shell that swept this field 
and live. The air was full of flying missiles and the ground was plowed 
up in all directions. 

At my left, as I fell back, there was posted a battery to check the 
advance of the rebels. The guns were evidently charged with grape 
and canister. The rebels charged on these guns with closed ranks, 
and the fire swept the ground mowing great gaps in the ranks of a 
brave foe. We learned later that three charges were made by these 
men. Whether the guns were taken to the rear or captured, I know 
not, but the rebels were soon in possession of this part of the field. 
The plain over which we passed was thickly strewn with the dead and 
wounded, and many a harrowing scene presented itself. One that I 
recall still stands in vivid colors in my memory. A poor fellow, assisted 
by two comrades, was making his way to the Chancellorsville house. 


He had the flesh so torn away from his hips that I could see the joints 
work in their sockets as he traveled. 

While crossing this plain a new danger confronted the brave sur- 
vivors of the 12th. Gen. Sickles was trying to form a new line of battle 
near the Chancellorsville house, and his gunners were about to fire on 
the advancing enemy without observing the squad of Union men be- 
tween, when Sickles, perceived the situation, rode in front of the guns 
and exclaimed, "Hold on there; those are my men in front." 

On arriving at this new line of battle, Lieut. Bedee was ordered 
by Gen. Sickles to have his men fall into line and help repel the rebel 
advance, but when he was informed that we had no ammunition he 
ordered us to the rear, and we passed through his lines close to the 
Chancellorsville house to the woods beyond. There we rested. I 
lay down on the ground and, thoroughly exhausted, at once fell asleep. 
As I awoke, I was told that two women who had been rescued from 
the cellar of the Chancellorsville house had just been conducted by. 
As we passed this house the bricks were being scattered by shot and 
shell and the house soon took fire. The house, used as a hospital at 
the time, was hastily cleared and at the last moment an officer visited 
the cellar and there found these women who had taken refuge there 
when the battle commenced. Their gallant rescue from the burning 
building was widely heralded in the papers a few days later. 

Near the Chancellorsville house was a well that supplied the house 
with water. A large number of men, famishing for water, crowded 
about this well regardless of the flying missiles of death, and here some 
were wounded and perhaps killed. My first impulse was to obtain 
water here myself, but I quickly took in the situation and concluded 
to move on. 

While this sketch is simply a narrative of the personal experience 
and observation of a man in the ranks, and in no sense a history of the 
battle, the writer cannot but allude to the fact that through all the 
awful carnage of that Sabbath morning, 35,000 Union troops, ready 
and anxious to sweep back the victorious hordes of the Confederacy, 
were allowed to remain inactive in the woods within supporting dis- 
tance, without being ordered to fire a shot. 

But to go on with my narrative. After we had rested in the woods 
a short time, we started for the Rappahannock, where we had crossed 
that stream on our advance, led by Col. Berdan of the Sharp Shooters. 
In a short time I overtook John Moores, a comrade of my company. 
He had been badly wounded in one foot, and was making his way to 
the rear as best he could, assisted by one of our boys. I gave him 
assistance, and after proceeding perhaps a mile and twice trying in vain 
to induce a surgeon to dress his wounds, we were overtaken by a moun- 


ted man, and I induced him to dismount and give Moores a ride to the 
hospital near the river. 

The headquarters of this hospital was a large, two-story house occu- 
pied a short time before by a Virginia planter. Every room in the 
house was filled with the wounded, and many, perhaps a thousand, 
were lying on the grass outside, and a few physicians were at work 
giving temporary assistance and forwarding the men to the hospitals 
on the east side of the river. 

While in the woods in the hottest of the fight the center band of 
my musket had been carried away by a piece of shell or bullet. I 
picked up another musket and had used it but a little while when I 
noticed by a private mark upon it that it belonged to Louis Rowe, my 
tent mate. I glanced over the dead and wounded near me, but did not 
find its owner, and was satisfied therefore that he had been wounded 
and had gone to the rear, and therefore, as soon as I arrived at this 
house, I commenced a search for him. After going through every 
room in the house and spending a long time hunting among those on 
the ground outside, I found him. While in the act of firing, a minnie 
ball had ploughed a furrow along the back of his left hand and then 
entered his right breast, making a wound from which he died nineteen 
years later. He dropped his gun and slipped his knapsack from his 
back, and then walked the three miles to the river. I made the poor 
fellow a cup of tea, and, as he was chilly and had lost his overcoat with 
his knapsack, I covered him with my own. I obtained a stretcher and 
saw him started across the river, and then I rejoined the remnant of 
the 12th Regt., which had rendezvoused near by. The giving of my 
overcoat to my tentmate was a great privation to me as I had no blan- 
ket, but it was the means of saving it, and I still have it, a valued relic 
of the war, stained with the blood of my comrade as it is. If I had 
selfishly kept it I should have lost it the next day as will appear later. 
This overcoat was returned to me when Louis Rowe returned to the 
regiment when it was at Point Lookout, the next fall. 

Up to the time of rejoining my comrades here I had been so en- 
grossed with the scenes of the day that no thought of home or friends 
had entered my mind, but as I then sat down to rest my mind flashed 
to far-away home, and as I thought of the sad news that must be borne 
them, tears came freely, and I realized more than ever before that the 
immediate actors of the war were not the only sufferers in this great 

I had a piece of shelter tent, and joining that with a piece carried 
by a comrade we erected a shelter, but having no overcoat or blanket 
I shivered with the cold in my sleep. About 2 o'clock in the morning 
heavy firing on the picket line at the south of our position caused all to 


fall into line and stand ready for action. No movement was made, but 
there was no further sleep that night. 

Roll-call came early, at which 97 enlisted men and 4 officers re- 
sponded to their names. These were organized into four companies 
with a commissioned officer to each and Col. Bowman, with the frag- 
ments of his brigade, started for the front. Arriving there we found 
immense breastworks constructed of logs and earth had been erected 
and behind these we felt confident that the Union forces would be able 
to hold their ground, but it was evident that the army was in no con- 
dition to make an advance. Behind these works the men were allowed 
to break ranks and pass the time as they saw fit, and many, to while 
away the time, engaged in gambling, using gun carriages for tables. 
During the day the enemy's sharp shooters, perched in trees, were en- 
gaged in picking off our officers, and Gen. Whipple, our division com- 
mander, soon after cur arrival at the front, fell at the hands of one of 
these men. The day and the following night passed without any gen- 
eral engagement or movement by our army. 

On Tuesday, a little before noon, nearly all the enlisted men of our 
regiment were detailed for fatigue duty, under the command of Lieut. 
Fernald and Capt. Smith. By a blunder on the part of someone, we 
were ordered to leave our arms, knapsacks and haversacks. We 
marched a mile or more through the woods to the rear and right, and 
were set to work throwing up intrenchments to prevent a flanking 
movement by the enemy. An officer in charge swore roundly when he 
saw what condition we were in, but added that he was not responsible, 
and we must stand it, rations or no rations, as the work must be com- 
pleted to the river by morning. 

Knee Deep in Mud 

Towards night it rained as it rains only in Virginia, and soon the 
trenches were half full of water, but still the boys toiled on. About 8 
o'clock that evening an order came for us to return to where we had 
left our arms and knapsacks. We tramped back through the dark 
woods, and finally reached the road between the pontoons and the front. 
Here it was easy to see that the army was on the retreat, for the artil- 
lery was going to the river with all possible speed. Instantly the 
officers of our detail lost control of their men, and there rose a wrangle 
between the officers and the men. Some contended that there was no 
evidence that the infantry had moved, and that we should return to 
where our arms and knapsacks were; others were in favor of striking 
at once for the river. The officers were unequal to the occasion, and 
their command rapidly disappeared, every man striking out for him- 
self. Comrade Jewett and I, with a few others, decided to stick to- 


gether and to return to the front for our effects. When we reached 
there the greatest confusion prevailed. The infantry had moved, but 
we had seen none. Where our brigade had gone no one knew. Large 
parties were engaged in destroying everything that could be of value 
to the enemy. Knapsacks were rifled and then burned, and muskets 
were heated and bent by a blow against a tree. I picked up a knapsack 
that had not yet reached the flames and found a haversack containing 
some food, which we devoured, but none of our arms or equipments 
were found. 

There was nothing for us to do but to strike out for the pontoons, 
over which the infantry must go, and so we set out. But such a road! 
The artillery had churned the earth through the woods, in the roads 
and on both sides into a sea of mud knee deep through which it seemed 
impossible to make our way. At one point I slipped and fell and I 
have often, since the war, questioned whether I could have rallied from 
that mudhole had Comrade Jewett not come to my aid. Our ex- 
perience that night has been recalled at nearly every meeting of our 
comrades since the war. About midnight we came to a clearing near 
the river and struck the line of march of the infantry. Here some 
soldiers had a fire of fence rails, and here we passed about four hours, 
trying to dry our clothes, nodding over the fire and watching for our 
place in the moving column. The 3d Corps came along about 4 o'clock, 
and finding our brigade we fell in and crossed the river. A march of 
ten miles by short stages brought us towards night to our old camp 
more dead than alive. On this march some of the mounted officers 
who were not over conspicuous in action, were impatient, and occasion- 
ally swore because the men did not keep well closed up. 

We built a fire in the old fireplace and made some coffee, which 
greatly revived us, but, oh! our hearts were sad and heavy, for more 
than half our number had fallen in battle. 

Our regiment went into the fight at Chancellorsville Sunday morn- 
ing, May 3, with about 25 commissioned officers and 549 enlisted men. 
Three officers and sixty-nine enlisted men had been killed, and three of 
the field and staff officers and 250 company officers and enlisted men 
had been wounded; a total loss of 325. 

Co. D went into the fight with a total of fifty-eight and of these 
six were killed, twenty-five wounded and five were missing, so that we 
had in arriving at camp only twenty-two left. 

Of those who went from Bristol in Companies C and D, Henry R. 
Kidder, Charles W. Cheney, Sergt. Gustavus Emmons, and Dan P. Nel- 
son were killed; Charles G. Smith died of wounds three days after the 
fight; and Louis Rowe, Benjamin Saunders, George W. Twombly, 
Henry Drake, L. B. Laney, Corp. Albert Nelson, Major J. Nelson, 
Thomas E. Osgood, and Oliver P. Hall were among the wounded. 


It was not strange that at such a time wild rumors were in constant 
circulation. We were informed that Chaplain Ambrose was killed and 
that Colonel Potter, who was wounded, perished in the Chancellors- 
ville house. The first Sunday the chaplain of Berdan's Sharp Shooters 
preached to us and eulogized our late chaplain. A few days later, how- 
ever, both the chaplain and Colonel Potter returned. The colonel was 
wounded and unable to travel and was therefore captured, while the 
chaplain, true to his nature, continued to minister to the wounded till he, 
too, was captured. Both had now been paroled. The colonel continued 
on his way to Washington and did not return to duty with the regi- 
ment, but was later made brigadier general. The chaplain resumed 
his work of love among the men and so continued till struck down by 
a rebel bullet in front of Petersburg while exposing himself for the re- 
lief of the men in the trenches, and died of his wounds. Such devotion 
as his was rare even among the men of his cloth in the army. 

There were many acts of heroism in this fight that will never be 
recorded, and many miraculous escapes unknown even to the persons 
concerned. Roswell D. Swett of Bristol had five bullets through his 
clothes and yet was unharmed. 

Amusing scenes are enacted even on the field of battle. Some I 
witnessed. Near me was a man from another company who skulked 
behind a tree. The colonel grabbed him by the collar and struck him 
with his sword. The man jumped one side to avoid the blow, and they 
went round in a circle two or three times, the colonel hitting him a 
blow at every jump. 

A sergeant in my own company also skulked behind a tree. He 
was seen there by William Martin, the same man who was spoken of 
above as being sentenced for desertion, and he went to a lieutenant and 
said in an authoritative manner, "Lieut. Morrill, you order that man 
from behind that tree." The order was promptly obeyed. A minute 
later Martin was struck in the arm by a Minie-ball, and, dropping his 
gun, he bounded like a deer to the rear. The wound was not consid- 
ered a very serious one, but it caused his death a week or ten days later. 
While in the hospital, he said to a visiting comrade, "Now I have some- 
thing that will take me out of the service," referring to his wound. It 
did, but not in the way in which he had planned. 

I have before alluded to the fact that my position as the left general 
guide of the regiment was with the left company and that I was with 
this company during the first day at Chancellorsville. In forming a 
line on parade and theoretically in battle, the right and left general 
guides, with muskets reversed, take positions at the extreme right and 
left where the line is to be formed. The colors take position in the 
center on the line and then the several companies align themselves on 


these. I asked the colonel where my position in battle was, and he in- 
formed me it was with the left company, and I was therefore with that 
company when it came so near being captured on Saturday night. 
However, when the battle of Sunday morning commenced and the men 
began to fall, I reasoned that my services as guide were not needed and 
I wanted to be with my own company, instead of with strangers, in 
case I should fall, and I therefore took my place with my company 

The Nelson Brothers 

The experience of the Nelson brothers of Bristol is worthy of a 
record here. Corp. Albert Nelson was first wounded, a piece of shell 
striking him in the head. Dan went to his assistance and, while help- 
ing him from the field, Major was found, also wounded, but not so 
badly but that he lent a helping hand in assisting Albert. A few min- 
utes later Dan received his death wound. A ball struck him in the 
back, penetrated his bowels and protruded in front. The enemy was 
close upon them and Dan begged his brothers to leave him to his fate 
rather than that all be captured, and so they left him to die in the hands 
of the enemy. 

Two or three days of complete rest were given the men after our 
return to camp, and then probably in part to divert the thoughts of the 
men from their losses, and possibly in part for sanitary reasons, orders 
were issued to level all the old quarters and build new. So the ground 
was cleared, new tent companies were formed, an effort was made to 
forget the past and look hopefully into the future, and before many days 
had elapsed we had adapted ourselves somewhat to our changed con- 

On the 12th inst. we were in line for the first time after the fight. 
The division was paraded near division headquarters and the death of 
General Jackson of the Confederate army was announced. Though an 
enemy, the division stood with uncovered heads as the order was read. 

[A marginal note here refers to Wednesday, May 13, 1863, in the 
writer's diary, where appears the following:] 

"I have just returned from Aqua Creek where I have been today 
and had a "right good time," to use an expression common to these 
parts. Joe and I got our passes and went down on the 8 o'clock train, 
and having arrived there, were not long in finding Edgerly, and we 
had a most pleasant visit, we had lemonade to drink and apples to eat, 
and a good dinner of soda crackers, ham, butter and coffee with con- 
densed milk. Soon after dinner we were out near the steamboat land- 
ing and ran across French, another old schoolmate, who belongs to the 
band of the 1st Rhode Island cavalry. It seemed like old times. There 


were four of us who, a little more than a year ago, were at schoo4 to- 
gether, met in the army in Virginia. We little dreamed it then. When 
we left this afternoon, Edgerly gave us some condensed milk, a can of 
condensed apple juice, lemonade powders, etc., etc., which were very 

"Thursday, May 14. I went down to Aqua Creek again today, as 
Dr. Fowler wanted me to get some things for the sick, at the sanitary 
commission. I was very glad of the chance and had another pleasant 

Gradually some of our boys who were missing or wounded re- 
turned to camp. One of the first to return was Warren Tucker of 
Alexandria, who joined us on the 15th. He was wounded, a ball pass- 
ing through his shoulder under the shoulder blade. The wound had 
not received much attention and the maggots were crawling out of it. 
Joseph Young, reported dead, was alive, with a terrible wound through 
his thighs. Levi B. Laney and Benj. Saunders are both now living, 
though both were badly wounded. 

Among those who were killed was a dear classmate at Tilton, 
Henry Whitten of Co. G. It was only a few days before the fight that 
we were talking of old times and our chances of returning to school. 
He was a young man of high purpose and ambition, a noble fellow. 
He felt confident that he should return to school, but he was cut down 
in the promise of his early manhood. 

As was to be expected the news of our losses carried great sorrow 
to New Hampshire. Letters from home stated there was great excite- 
ment as well as sorrow at Bristol. One of my letters was opened at 
the post office and read to the crowd in waiting before it was allowed 
to go to the parties to whom it was addressed. The first news that 
reached Bristol was simply rumors as gathered by one and another, 
and consequently very unreliable. Several were reported dead who 
later were found alive, and some time elapsed before the exact truth 
was known. Stephen Nelson made a trip to Washington to learn the 
fate of his boys, two of whom he found were wounded, but of Dan 
nothing more was ever learned later than reported above. 

An effort was made to secure the remains of Capt. Keyes and 
some others who fell in action on the 3d, and 1st Sergeant Hall of our 
company was sent over the river with a flag of truce for this purpose. 
But he returned without effecting his purpose. It could hardly be said 
that the dead on the field had been buried. Loose earth only had been 
thrown over the remains and they were not in a condition to be re- 
moved. Sergt. Hall represented the stench on the battlefield to be 

Wild rumors were in constant circulation. The most persistent 
one was to the effect that we were to be sent home on a furlough to en- 


list men to refill our depleted ranks; then we were to be sent to some 
fort. But the most disquieting rumor of all was to the effect that our 
regimental organization was to be blotted out entirely on account of 
our reduced numbers and the men distributed into other organizations 
where needed. One rumor even assigned us to an organization out- 
side the state, the 84 Penn. Vols. Some foundations for these rumors 
existed in the fact that one day twenty-three men were taken for duty, 
temporarily, in a New York battery, and a little later twenty men were 
taken for provost duty at Gen. Sickles' headquarters. 

May 30 our regiment again went out on picket. Our station was 
near the place we had previously been posted. A few hours' work 
made comfortable quarters and then some of the boys went to work on 
a brook near by. Some built a dam, others a miniature sawmill and 
soon there were in operation here six water wheels, which carried three 
upright saws, a cross-cut and a circular saw, a trip hammer, and a 
churn. A man in the mill had a saw in one hand and a jug in the other, 
and a woman stood at the churn. When the thing was in full opera- 
tion, Col. Berdan came along and laughed heartily at the exhibition 
and flattered the boys by remarking that none but New Hampshire 
men could put such an establishment in operation and that he hoped 
they would some day be running larger establishments of this kind in 
this same country. 

The men at this time were in pretty good spirits owing largely to 
cheering news from near Vicksburg. It was said that Gen. Grant had 
been successful in five successive battles, and had captured 10,000 rebels 
and ninety guns, and that his army was in possession of all the outer 
works of the city. 

While here one morning there were discovered indications that the 
enemy had planted a battery on the south side of the river and erected 
earthworks. The same morning a lieutenant came from camp and 
brought the intelligence that Private Patrick Hickey had died in 
hospital of wounds received at Chancellorsville, and that my tentmate, 
William Straw, of Hill, was dangerously sick of fever. 

Returning to camp there were rumors in the air of moves on the 
part of the rebel army and our own. A captive balloon near us was 
constantly making observations of the movements of the rebel army, 
but information gathered thereby went to headquarters instead of to 
the men in the ranks. The conclusions arrived at from what was seen 
and heard at these times and many others were sometimes correct 
and sometimes not. Later the balloon moved up the river, and it was 
concluded that the object it was observing was moving in that direc- 
tion, and this conclusion was correct, for soon it was known that the 
rebel army was moving north, and soon the invasion of the north was 
effected and we were making movements that culminated in the battle 


of Gettysburg, where the backbone of the Confederacy was broken. 

My tentmate, Wm. Straw, was at this time in the regimental 
hospital. On June 5, I visited him for the last time, made him as com- 
fortable as I could, and then penned a letter to his wife for him. It 
seemed then that his work was about done. The next day he was sent 
to the Division hospital and I did not see him again. He died at Alex- 
andria, June 20, 1863. 

Another tentmate, Rev. Asa Witham, was sent to the Division 
hospital at the same time, being unable to travel on account of rheuma- 
tism. Thus the last of those who shared my tent before the battle of 
Chancellorsville had left me. They were all kindred spirits, and as 
there was no prospect of either of them ever returning for duty I was 
greatly depressed at their departure. 

About this time, the wife of Chas. G. Smith arrived from Bristol, 
expecting to find her husband alive and hoping to take him home, but 
he had died at Aqua Creek of his wounds, June 6. About the same 
time the sister of Wm. Martin came for the remains of her brother. 



The first orders to move on the Gettysburg campaign came June 
6, in the evening, and we were directed to be ready to move at day- 
break the next morning. During the day there had been heavy firing 
in the direction of Fredericksburg, so we naturally expected to move in 
that direction and concluded there might be warm work for us on the 
morrow, but no orders to move came. 

On Thursday, June 11, we learned that as our old division (3d) 
had been so decimated in battle and its commander killed, the remaining 
fragments would be distributed to the other two divisions. This proved 
to be true and we received orders to move, as we supposed to be nearer 
the headquarters of our new division, the second. Accordingly we 
packed up everything we could muster strength to carry, that we might 
enjoy them in our new camp, but after marching about two miles 
towards our supposed new quarters we observed that the entire army 
was on the move, and we made haste to dispose of everything that was 
not absolutely necessary for the march. We joined our new division 
near division headquarters and then countermarched towards our old 
encampment. Some could not help asking the question, why we did 
not remain where we were and join our new command as it passed 
instead of making an unnecessary march, and some attempted to ans- 
wer, but the reason was not complimentary to the division commander, 
and it might not have been correct. The day was hot, but we pressed 
on, hour after hour, and finally halted near Hartwood church on the 
Warrington road, 17 miles from our starting point. 

The next morning reveille sounded at 4 o'clock and we were soon 
again on the move. As the day advanced the heat became intense, 
and the road was strewn with blankets, overcoats, shelter tents, and 
clothing of every description. I determined to hold on to mine, but 
towards noon my blanket was dropped to lighten my load. The roads 
were dry and the passing army beat the ground into fine dust several 
inches deep, while every twig and leaf was laden with dust, and the air 
was so thick with the flying particles that one could see but a little 
way ahead. We made a brief halt at noon and then the march was re- 
sumed towards Kelley's ford, which we passed about 5 p. m. At dark 
we crossed the Alexandria and Orange railroad, where it crossed the 


north branch of the Rappahannock, and a mile beyond stacked arms, as 
we supposed, for the night. We had covered about twenty-six miles, 
and if ever the poor boys were thankful for a rest it was then. I 
started with others for water, but before we found any we heard the 
command given to fall in. Hurrying back we again took our place in 
the ranks, and then we traveled almost at a double quick two miles 
further, but which seemed to be five. The men were continually falling 
out, and when we finally came to a place to bivouac, of twenty-six men 
in my company only six were in line, and I was one of those. Per- 
haps I may as well confess that I did not dare to stop to rest for fear 
I should not be able to resume the march that night. We had halted at 
Beverly Ford, where a cavalry fight had taken place a few days before. 

The next day was the Sabbath, June 14, 1863, and it proved to be 
a veritable day of rest, an uncommon thing in the army. This was 
necessary, in part, at least, to give the stragglers an opportunity to 
reach camp and they were coming in all day. There was much spec- 
ulation at this point among the men as to whether we were on a retreat 
or on a race after the Johnnies, but we soon learned that Gen. Lee 
was even then moving by rapid marches to the north, and our forced 
marches were absolutely necessary to follow him. 

At 6 o'clock that evening the army again resumed the march and 
continued on the road all night, reaching Catlett's Station at 7 o'clock 
in the morning. There we rested till 2 p.m., when we resumed the march, 
and continued with brief halts till 12 at night. Then we were allowed 
to bivouac. Between the two bivouacs we had covered from thirty to 
thirty-five miles. This was even a harder march than the Saturday 
before and was indeed the hardest march of my army experience. The 
same conditions prevailed as on the Saturday before. The heat was 
intense, the dust blinding, many fell out and some died of exhaustion 
on the road. 

We had halted this time at Manassas Junction, and on every hand 
were seen the marks of the hand of war — buildings and bridges and 
trains of cars destroyed, and other marks of the contests between two 
hostile armies. In one place was a pile of thousands of muskets and 
carbines, all destroyed by burning. 

Tuesday, the 16th, we marched only about 2 miles and then again 
went into camp, where there were better facilities to obtain water, and 
rested for the remainder of the day. 

Here we received news that Gen. Lee had already entered Penn- 
sylvania. This news was received with general satisfaction by the 
army, because the opinion was that the farther he entered that state 
the less likely he would be to return. 

The next morning (Wednesday, June 17th) we marched to within 
two miles of Centerville. On the way we crossed Bull Run and a por- 


tion of the battlefield that took the name of this stream. A halt on the 
way gave the men an opportunity to bathe in its waters, which was 
gladly embraced. Here we had an opportunity to mail letters, but, as 
only half an hour was given for writing, our communications were short. 

On Friday, the 19th, we marched to Gum Springs, which place we 
reached about dusk. A cold rain prevailed, and during the night we 
felt the need of the blankets we threw away just one week before. The 
shelter tents, which we still had, sheltered us from the rain, and the 
rubber blankets were needed to protect us from the wet ground, so we 
had no covering besides the clothes we had on. 

We remained at Gum Springs till the Thursday following (the 
25th). Expected attacks from the rebel cavalry and other alarms 
came daily, and occasionally our field pieces would play into this or 
that piece of woods to drive out an imaginary or real foe. While here 
gambling with cards was indulged in more freely than I had observed 
in any other place. The moral tone of the Second division was not as 
high as the old Third division, and gambling was the order of the day 
most of the time. This was one of the diversions of the boys, and was 
practiced rather from a lack of a better way in which to pass the time 
than from depraved nature, or a desire to make money easily. The 
stakes were usually small. 

We were ready for a start at 9 a. m. on Thursday, and the corps 
commenced to move at that time and for two hours and more continued 
to file out to the road. Then came the baggage train, which, when in 
columns, extended five or six miles.. We got under full march about 
10 a. m., going northerly. We reached Edwards Ferry at 5 p. m., hav- 
ing covered fifteen miles, and here we hoped to spend the night, but 
we did not even stop to make coffee. We crossed the Potomac on a 
pontoon bridge, and then took the tow path of the Ohio and Chesa- 
peake canal and continued the march toward Harper's Ferry. At this 
point rain commenced, and in some respects this march was even harder 
than the famous march of Saturday, June 13. For twelve miles we 
continued on the tow path, the night was dark, the rain fell in torrents, 
the tow path was narrow, so that each was compelled to walk in the 
steps of his file leader, thereby churning the earth into deep mud. 
There were many bad places in the path which checked the head of the 
column, causing very uneven marching to those far in the rear, and 
making long waits followed by double quicks to close up, even though 
many pounds of mud adhered to the feet. These long waits were of 
no relief, however, for there were no opportunities to sit or lie down. 
This was more tiresome than the ordinary march. There was no 
opportunity to straggle, but the narrow path did not prevent large 
numbers from falling out, and nearly half the men were scattered far 
to the rear when the colors halted about midnight near the mouth of 
the Monoccay. 


For the first time in my army experience, I was with those who 
fell out. Finding a grass plot near the path, four of us buttoned our 
shelter cloth together, pitched it as a tent, and then lay down. I 
chanced to be one of the outside fellows, and a part of the time at least 
my body was crowded out under the tent and I received the full bene- 
fit of the rain as it fell in torrents all night long. Wet as I was I got 
some sound sleep. Upon waking in the morning we discovered an 
abandoned negro hut near by which we took possession of, built a 
rousing fire by using a portion of the hut for fuel, and partially dried 
our clothes and made coffee. Then we started to overtake the colors. 
We were with the majority that day, and the crowd marched on with- 
out officers in command, though there were officers in the company of 
stragglers. There were few officers in the ranks that day. It was a 
go-as-you-please march, and we did not overtake the head of the column 
till 5 o'clock in the afternoon at Point of Rocks. We were informed 
that only about a dozen men of the 12th Regt. were with the colors, 
when the final halt was made the night before. Even Gen. Humphrey, 
in his report, said the march was more exhausting to officers and men 
than the march of the 14th and 15th. If, as was reported, he chose to 
march on the tow path to prevent straggling, he made a great mistake. 

We started from Point of Rocks early the next morning and 
marched seven miles to Jefferson, where some, expecting, on the 
strength of a rumor, to remain over night, pitched tents. After an 
hour's rest the order came to fall in and we again took up the line of 
march and did not make a general halt till we arrived at Burkettsville, 
Md., 10 miles from our noonday halt. There we turned into a field, 
pitched tents a second time and prepared to spend the night, when 
again came the command to pack up and fall in. This march took us 
to the top of Cedar Mountain, and we halted at Campton's gap, the spot 
where the battle of South Mountain commenced. As an evidence of 
the struggle here a citizen pointed to the places where twenty or thirty 
rebels were buried in one grave. After a short stay here we again 
moved on but only for a short distance to where we passed the night, 
thankful for an opportunity to sleep. 

The morrow, Sunday, was pleasant and cool, and, in spite of the 
presence of large bodies of troops, the church bell in the small hamlet 
rang to call worshipers together. This was the first time such a joyous 
sound had greeted our ears for many months, and some of us pro- 
posed to attend service, but instead we fell in and took up the line of 

Since crossing the Potomac into Maryland we could but notice we 
were among friends. The majority of the people were without doubt 
Unionists and those who were not wisely kept in the shade. Where 
before we saw only desolated fields and many ruins, now we saw pros- 


perous farms and growing crops. We passed through Woodsborough. 
At Burkettsville we were greeted with a Union flag in the hands of a 
young lady on the balcony of a residence. The effect was magical; 
the boys cheered, the regimental flag was unfurled and the brigade 
band played. We halted for the night near Frederick City, Md., hav- 
ing marched about 20 miles that day. 

At 12 o'clock the supply train arrived and I got up to draw rations; 
then they had to be divided up and distributed to the men. At four 
o'clock the reveille sounded and the column soon moved and I had only 
time to finish my work and then fall in, having had but little sleep and 
no breakfast. This was one of the occasions when it was no advan- 
tage to have charge of drawing the company rations, for while I was 
at work most of my comrades were asleep or resting. 

It is so much easier to march at the head of the column than at any 
other point, especially the rear, that the several divisions of a Corps 
alternate in taking the advance. The same rule holds good in the sev- 
eral brigades and with the regiments of the brigades. By fortunate 
changes, under this rule, the day we left Frederick City, the 12th Regi- 
ment led the Corps. I say fortunate, for it was not only easier march- 
ing at the head of the column, but our regiment being at the head of 
the column was taken for provost duty at Taneytown, Md , where we 
passed the night. Ordinarily this extra duty would have been consid- 
ered a hardship, but not so here, as will appear later on. 

We marched twenty-three miles that day, and, notwithstanding 
our favored position, all the boys were exceedingly tired as we were 
getting well worn out. I remember as a halt was called just outside 
the village, I sank down to rest by the side of the road, and a few. min- 
utes later I saw on the opposite side of the road at a farm house, several 
women bringing from the house pans of milk, doughnuts and pies, 
which they placed on the doorsteps for the soldiers. I helped dispose 
of those refreshments and instantly felt like a new man. And then 
these women poured out such love for the Union that we retired not 
only refreshed, but with a fresh inspiration for the cause. 

On reaching the center of the village our regiment filed into a side 
street and then stacked arms, guards were placed and then the rest 
were at liberty to roam through the town. The corps passed through 
the town while the 12th Regt. remained for guard duty as before stated. 
The whole town was out to welcome us, and the boys did not need in- 
troductions to the girls. My eyes caught sight of two very pretty and 
intelligent young ladies and we were soon engaged in an animated con- 
versation — such a treat for one who had been deprived of all female 
society since we left home. Our newly made acquaintances proved to 
be the daughters of the Presbyterian minister of the town. Some of 
the young ladies were particularly demonstrative. One we remember 


even now. She stationed herself on the sidewalk near the main body 
of troops as they passed, and with flag in hand as each officer passed, 
whether he was a general or a line officer, on foot or mounted, she 
sang out, "Hurrah for the lieutenant." To her a lieutenant was as big 
a man as a general. In fact she knew no difference. All were friends 
of the soldiers at sight, and every house was open to serve meals for 
the boys who were always hungry when there were good things to eat. 
That night my duties and recreation kept me up till late, and then I 
spread my rubber blanket on the flat slate stone sidewalk, and, with 
my knapsack for a pillow, I slept soundly till reveille sounded in the 

We were on guard duty during our stay in Taneytown, and our 
chief duty was to prevent soldiers, who had no passes, from entering 
the town. 

Tuesday till noon, the 12th Army Corps was passing through the 
town, and as soon as that had passed we withdrew from the town and 
went into camp about three miles out on the Emmitsburg road. 



Wednesday, the first day of July, occurred the first day's fight at 
Gettysburg. Two or three days before, Gen. Hooker had been relieved 
of the command of the army of Potomac and Gen. Meade had suc- 
ceeded him. The Confederate army under Gen. Lee was in Pennsyl- 
vania. Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and even Washington were threat- 
ened and the greatest excitement prevailed throughout the North. 
Under these circumstances the wisdom of a change in the head of the 
army was questioned, and this step had a depressing effect on the army. 
Officers and men in whispers discussed the situation and silently shook 
the head as though fearful of the coming of another disaster. 

On that Wednesday morning we passed through Emmitsburg, 
with the buildings of many streets in ashes, as one of the results of the 
touch of the hand of war, and pressed on towards Gettysburg. I 
remember as we passed through the town the rain was falling heavily 
and it was hardly to be expected that the men presented a very cheer- 
ful aspect. At one door stood an aged woman, and just as I passed 
her door I heard her say, "Oh, men, don't look so down-hearted." 
There was no doubt as to that woman's loyalty. 

As the day advanced, the rain ceased and we hastened our steps. 

That same morning Gen. Reynolds had met a portion of the Rebel 
army at Gettysburg and a sharp fight occurred, resulting in the death 
of Reynolds and the defeat of the Union arms. The Union forces 
under Gen. Howard were pressed back and took possession of the 
range of hills known as Cemetery Ridge, and this defeat on Wednes- 
day may have been a blessing in disguise, for these same hills to which 
the Union forces were driven were occupied by the several Union corps 
as they arrived later, and constituted the invulnerable position held by 
the Army of the Potomac in the succeeding days of the battle. 

All that afternoon we pressed forward, stimulated by the roar of 
battle at Gettysburg that reached our ears. Staff officers and couriers 
were dashing to and fro bearing dispatches or giving orders prepara- 
tory to the coming conflict. The shades of evening came and the roar 
of cannon gave place to the stillness of night, but on we pressed, and, 
though weary with a long march, there was no need of orders to hasten 
our steps, for all were making the best time possible, fully realizing the 
importance of the hour. 


Finally about midnight we reached the vicinity of Gettysburg. 
We were marching with rank well closed up, ready for action, when we 
halted and a command was passed down the line to lie down on both 
sides of the road as noiselessly as possible. By a strange mistake or a 
lack of information as to where the enemy was we were marching 
directly into his lines. When we halted, his cannon planted in the road 
ahead of us could be dimly seen. In column as we were his cannon 
would have reaped a rich harvest of death had he opened on us. Why 
he did not we never knew. 

Instantly the order was obeyed. The rattle of tin dippers and 
canteens was suppressed and the men dropped to the ground beside the 
highway. The commander of the brigade, his staff and servants passed 
to the rear, the men arose in their places noiselessly, countermarched, 
and when out of range, the column struck across the country from the 
Emmitsburg road, where we were, to the Taneytown road, making a 
circuit of the Round Tops, and about one o'clock in the morning 
reached a position north of these hills, and bivouacked for the remain- 
der of the night, after a march of nearly twenty-five miles. 

As the officers and their servants were passing to the rear, some 
wag near me said in a voice loud enough to be heard by many, "Offi- 
cers and niggers to rear, march." This "shot" was received with sup- 
pressed laughter by all who heard it. 

Extending south of Gettysburg on the west is a long ridge known 
as Seminary ridge, because on it near the city stands the Lutheran 
seminary. A little less than a mile to the east and nearly parallel with 
it, is Cemetery ridge, extending from the city two miles or more to the 
Round Tops. It was on. this latter ridge that the Union army took 
position after the fight of the first day, while the Confederate army 
took position on Seminary ridge. It was the ground between these 
two ridges that was fought over in the battles of the second and third 
of July and a large portion of the field could be covered by the eye at 
a glance. 

On the morning of the second day the Confederate army was 
posted the entire length of Seminary ridge from a point opposite 
Round Top facing east to the city. Near the city this line made a 
sharp bend to the east, extending in this direction nearly a mile, and 
then made another bend to the south-east of Cemetery ridge. Its 
entire length was nearly five miles and in shape like that of a fishhook. 

The different corps of the Union army as they arrived took posi- 
tion* facing this line. Their formations were like that of the Confed- 
erates in two or three lines of battle. 

At the extreme right of the Confederates, opposite Round Top, were 
posted the veteran troops of its army under Gen. Longstreet. Oppo- 
site these troops Gen. Sickles took position with the Third Corps, the 


12th Regt. being in the first line of battle at the extreme right of the 

It was expected that the rebel army would follow up the advan- 
tages of the first day's fight with an early attack on our lines and there- 
fore the Union army was astir and making coffee with the early dawn, 
but the greater part of the day passed and not a gun was fired except 
by the pickets and an occasional shot from a battery. 

Finally Gen. Sickles brought on an engagement by opening fire 
with his artillery on his extreme left. This engagement spread north 
and soon the whole line was engaged in mortal strife, the ferocity of 
which has seldom been seen on the battlefields of the world. The con- 
testants numbered nearly or quite 180,000 men. 

The hardest fighting of the day was on the left, held at first by the 
Third Corps alone, for here was the weak spot in the whole line — the 
angle since called the bloody angle. Gen. Sickles had made this angle 
by swinging the left of his line to the rear in order to protect his flank. 
Here were massed during the second day nearly a third part of the 
entire Confederate army. The other attacks along the line, though 
desperate, were largely to prevent assistance being sent to the left. 

It is not our purpose to enter into a discussion, extending to the 
present day as it does, as to whether the alignment of Gen. Sickles or 
his acts in bringing on an engagement at this time were wise or con- 
trary to the science of war, or whether the sulkiness of Gen. Long- 
street in declining to bring on a general engagement in the early part 
of the day as ordered, contributed, to the general result of this battle. 
It is a fact that Gen. Sickles by commencing the engagement prevented 
the withdrawal of the Union army by Gen. Meade; as it is claimed was 
his intention, and that the heroism of the men in the ranks in both 
armies made the battle the stupendous one it was, resulting in a victory 
to the Union cause. Even after the exhausting fight of three days, 
had it been left to the men in the ranks of the Union army to dictate a 
line of action, the northern army would have thrown itself between the 
Potomac river and Lee's retreating army or crushed him while attempt- 
ing to cross the river and thus perhaps have ended the rebellion then 
and there. 

When Sickles opened fire with his artillery the enemy replied, do- 
ing much execution, extending to the position held by the 12th and 
here some of our men fell. We were then ordered to advance and lie 
down in an apple orchard. Cannonading increased and the shot and 
shell from both sides passed over us, making the very air hot with the 
flying missiles. Fortunately this was mainly an artillery duel between 
batteries posted on higher ground, and we suffered but little. 

After lying in this position nearly an hour the infantry at our ex- 
treme left became engaged. The roll and roar of musketry as the two 


armies came together were appalling. Gradually it came nearer like a 
mighty thunder storm, not rapidly but with tremendous force and deaf- 
ening roar, one continuous crash. Nearer and nearer the roar of the 
carnage came, drowning even the screeching of the shot and shell over 
our heads. 

While this fighting was going on at our left, our part of the line 
advanced to the Emmitsburg road, driving the enemy before us. In- 
deed the right of our regiment crossed this road, thus giving it the 
most advanced position held by the corps that day. The correctness 
of this assertion is verified by official maps and the history of the battle 
published since the war, and by the side of this road now stands the 
12th Regt. monument marking its most advanced position on that day. 

But this was not a position that could long be held. The heavy 
fighting at our left was the result of a desperate effort to crush our line 
at the bloody angle. Then the enemy dealt desperate blows and par- 
tially succeeded. 

The line of the 3d Corps was rolled back upon itself and the safety 
of the entire army threatened. A battery was planted by the enemy 
that raked the position held by the 12th Regt. by the left flank, and 
this, in connection with the musketry and artillery fire in front ren- 
dered our position such as no troops could withstand, and then too our 
advanced position rendered our capture certain by the oncoming host, 
if we remained where we were and a retreat was ordered. 

While retreating, the guns of the 6th Corps, posted on high ground 
in reserve, played over our heads into the ranks of the enemy and 
helped to check their advance, but, while at the Emmitsburg road and 
while retreating, the men of the 12th suffered their greatest loss. Lieut. 
French, while giving an order, fell dead. Sergt. Howe, carrying the 
state colors, was killed, and Corp. Brown, in the act of picking up the 
colors, suffered the same fate. Sergt. Luther Parker of Hill, carrying 
the U. S. flag, fell with a shattered leg. Corp. Knight, of the color 
guard, was killed, and nearly all the other members of the color guard 
were wounded. Here fell Comrade Horace S. Plaisted of New Hamp- 
ton, and John Taylor, also of New Hampton, received wounds from 
which he died six weeks later. Comrade Frank Knowlton of Sanborn- 
ton had his right hip carried away by a shell. As he fell he uttered 
a piercing cry, stretched out his hand imploring aid, and expired. 

When the color bearers fell, Edward L. Shepard and Geo. E. 
Worthen, both of Ashland, bravely volunteered to take their places. 

After retreating a short distance in an effort to form a line facing 
the south to check the advancing Confederates, the 12th was ordered to 
execute a movement known in army tactics as "changing front to the 
rear." This is a difficult movement to make even on the parade 
ground, and its execution in face of the enemy is hazardous. In this 


case the changing of front was to the left. Troops can take hard blows 
when like blows can be given in return, but here in making this move- 
ment no reply could be made to the enemy though our men were still 

This movement was partially successful and the men of our bri- 
gade somewhat broken fell into line with the 6th Corps, advancing to 
our relief, checked the advance of the enemy and then drove them pell 
mell in the opposite direction. 

But the work of the day was not over. The enemy reformed and 
massed its troops for another supreme effort. The scene changes with 
great rapidity and power. Longstreet's massed artillery played into 
the Union ranks with terrible effect, and his infantry, strengthened with 
fresh troops, made a desperate attempt to break the Union lines and 
capture the Union guns in the rear of the peach orchard, and just as 
desperate efforts were made further to the left to obtain possession of 
the Round Tops. But few realize the importance of the action at this 
time. The result of the battle and perhaps the destiny of the nation 
hung in the balance. The Union troops, instead of flying from the 
scene as did the raw troops at Bull Run, veterans as they were, held 
their ground, and a hand to hand fight ensued. Then on the double 
quick came the 2d and 12th Corps to their assistance. They swung 
into line under a murderous fire and checked the advance of a victo- 
rious foe. 

In the struggle at this point the 5th Regt., N. H. Vols., covered it- 
self with glory. Here its gallant leader, Col. Cross, fell, in trying to 
stem the tide, and here fell Gen. Sickles with the loss of a leg. 

The advance of the enemy thus checked, the 3d Corps was ordered 
to fall to the rear. 

When this order came, night was falling on the scene. Two thou- 
sand men of our division had fallen, and of the brave men who com- 
posed the 12th Regt., at noon of that day, one half had been left dead 
or wounded on the field, while a few had fallen into the hands of the 
enemy as prisoners of war. 

When reaching a point beyond the range of the enemy's guns the 
men of the 3d Corps prepared to spend the night as best they could. 
There was no pitching of even shelter tents and the comrades of differ- 
ent organizations fraternized in groups as most convenient, built the 
ever needed camp-fire and made coffee. 

Many were short of rations, myself among the number. My haver- 
sack contained some coffee and that was all, but in falling back I passed 
a place where hardtack had been issued and the crumbs from the boxes 
lay upon the ground. They had absorbed moisture from the ground, 
but hungry as I was I gathered what I could into my haversack for my 
supper. That evening the men about the camp-fires divided rations so 


that all had a little. In our party were several Johnnies, who had noth- 
ing to eat. We shared with them our meagre supply and were soon 
on as good terms with them as though through the day we had fought 
side by side. 

The men around the camp-fires that night were not in a talkative 
mood. They were worn out and weary with the excessive marches 
of the last few days and the hard fighting of the last few hours, and 
their hearts were sad that so many of their comrades had fallen, and 
then there was a general feeling that our arms, as a whole, had not 
been successful during the day, and many a veteran as he lay upon the 
ground that night was unable to sleep because of fears that the fearful 
losses of the day had been of no avail. He recalled to mind the ter- 
rible carnage at Chancellorsville, just two months before, and its dis- 
heartening effect, and feared another disaster was to be added to the 
cause of the Union. We judged of the battle as a whole by what we 
had seen in our immediate vicinity, when fortunately the battle was 
not a disaster though not as yet a sweeping victory for the Union. 

Light had hardly dawned the morning of the third day at Gettys- 
burg when the pickets commenced firing, and without the reveille the 
men prepared for the work of the day. The men of the 12th, scattered 
during the night, came together around the flag, at least those left for 
duty, in all only about fifty, though a few more were gathered from 
missing during the day. In reorganizing I took the state flag and car- 
ried it that day and for a few weeks afterward. 

Artillery firing succeeded that of the pickets, and later the infantry 
became engaged, and thus the great fight of the third day at Gettys- 
burg came on and culminated in victory to the Union army, and the 
highwater mark of the Southern Confederacy was passed. 

During the artillery firing of the morning our regiment lost a few 
men from shells, but in making the alignments for the day fresh troops 
formed the first line of battle, and the remnant of the 12th was assigned 
to the support of a battery posted on the crest of a hill, and we consti- 
tuted a part of the third line of battle on that part of the field which 
met the fury of Pickett's charge later in the day. 

The morning passed with intermittent fighting, brisk artillery duels, 
the crash of infantry and in some cases the bayonet charge, and the 
enemy was driven back at all points and the ground lost the preceding 
day was recovered. The actions of the morning were Union victories. 

Noon came and Gen. Lee, after surveying the field from the cupola 
of the College building on Seminary ridge, determined to seek to re- 
trieve the disasters of the morning by making a supreme effort to 
pierce the Union center and thus destroy the Union army. 

On Seminary ridge, opposite our position, were massed the fresh 
troops of Gen. Pickett's division, which had arrived during the night 


before and which was to be nearly annihilated that day, and gain im- 
mortal renown in the greatest onslaught of modern warfare. His divi- 
sion, largely increased by reenforcements from other commands, num- 
bered about 15,000 men. 

When Lee issued his orders for the supreme work of the day to 
commence, 115 of his guns, massed, opened fire on our center. As 
many or more guns from the Union lines from Round Top to the city 
responded, and for two hours the greatest artillery duel of the war con- 
tinued. The ground shook and trembled beneath us and the air was 
full of screeching shot and shell, and many a brave man on both sides 
got his passports to eternity. 

Pickett's Charge 

Finally there was a lull in the artillery fire and Pickett's division 
moved en masse with bayonets fixed toward the Union lines, about one 
mile distant. The Union guns, which Lee hoped he had silenced, 
opened on the advancing hosts, huge gaps were plowed in their ranks, 
and their path was strewn with the dead and wounded, but still they 
pressed on; then grape and canister decimated their ranks and finally, 
as they came within close range, musketry fire added to the awful 
slaughter; but still undaunted they closed up their ranks and pressed 
on until the Union lines were reached, and then a desperate hand to 
hand contest ensued. But this was not a contest that could long be 
continued, and an order to retreat was sounded, which a few were 
able to obey, but the larger part of the assailing party that survived 
threw down their arms and became prisoners of war. The high water 
mark of the Confederacy had spent its fury on the rocks of the Union 
lines and the Southern cause from this hour was doomed, but along 
the path traveled by these devoted men lay nearly a thousand Confed- 
erate dead and many times that number of wounded. 

During this charge we saw comparatively little of the awful car- 
nage that was going on in our immediate front. Our orders were to lie 
down and we were very willing to obey, but we saw enough and heard 
enough to know that the existence of a nation may have rested on the 
work of the hour, and as standing erect even for a moment might mean 
the end of our earthly career, we were willing to judge of the progress 
of the fight mainly by hearing. 

As we lay in support of that battery, there was one gun on the Con- 
federate side that gave the boys of the 12th particular anxiety. It was 
of large calibre and was posted a long distance away in our front. At 
regular but very brief intervals it threw a shell directly in line with 
our position. Upon starting from the muzzle upon its mission of death 
we could see the shell, leaving a small trail of smoke in its rear. As it 


neared us it fell lower and lower, and we were certain it would strike by 
the time it reached us and annihilate the whole regiment, but each one 
passed over us almost within reach of the hand and crashed into a 
ledge a little at our rear. As it struck, scattering the rocks in all direc- 
tions, each man took a long breath, and then turned to look for the 
next corner, each time with the same result. 

The Wounded 

As at Chancellorsville, our regiment lost heavily during the two 
days of our engagement. On the morning of July 2, there were 222 
men in line and during that day and the following, 20 were killed on 
the field and 73 wounded, of whom six died of their wounds. The 
total losses to the Union army in the three days were 3,070 killed, 
14,497 wounded, and 5,434 taken prisoners, a total of over 23,000 men. 

Of my immediate comrades who suffered in this fight, besides 
those already named, was Charles N. Drake. He had passed through 
the slaughter at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville unscathed, but 
here his right leg was shattered with a grape shot. He crawled a few 
rods to the rear and took shelter behind a large rock. While lying 
here, the Union line fell back bringing his position between the two 
lines, and here a Minie ball from the Union army passed through his 
left lung very near his heart. At night he was carried from the field 
and in the afternoon of the following day his leg was amputated and, 
strange as it may seem, he recovered and lived 32 years, able to do a 
fair day's work as a carpenter. 

Henry A. Fellows was wounded in the arm and had several ribs 
broken, but he walked twenty miles to the rear, and died of his wounds 
six weeks later. 

Adna Hall was wounded in the early part of the fight in the first 
day of our engagement. While in a stooping position a Minie ball 
plowed a path down his back. He died of his wounds at Philadelphia. 

Sylvester Swett had his knapsack and canteen shot from his person 
and a Minie ball entered his ankle and was not removed till forty- 
eight hours later. 

Sergt. U. H. Kidder was wounded and helped over a fence by a 
piece of shell striking his knapsack, and Daniel W. Bohonan, a Bristol 
boy serving on the quota of Danbury, was wounded. 

Comrade Samuel Brown of Hebron was among the killed. Among 
the wounded were Frank Marshall of Hill, Lieut. B. M. Merrill, Moses 
B. Gilman, Arthur L. Kimball, Hiram C. Philbrick, and Jonathan E. 
Leavitt of Sanbornton; Samuel C. Robinson, Corp. Howard Taylor of 
New Hampton; Wm. N. French and Stephen O. Gray of Alexandria; 
Samuel C. Adams of Danbury; while Charles E. Edgerly of Sanborn- 


ton and Geo. N. Drake of New Hampton were among the captured. 

On Saturday morning, following the fight of Thursday afternoon, 
a soldier of another regiment called and inquired for me. He said 
that a comrade of mine, badly wounded, was at the 6th Corps hospital 
and wanted to see me. I at once hastened to the place indicated and 
there on a stretcher I found Jonathan Leavitt, of Sanbornton, a tent 
mate, in a terrible condition. Both feet and ankles had been 

crushed by a cannon ball or shell. By mistake he had been carried to 
the 6th Corps hospital, the stretcher placed under an apple tree and 
there he had lain for 40 hours unattended. His feet had turned black 
and were fast becoming a mass of corruption. Scores of surgeons 
not far off were operating on men of the 6th Corps, but this poor man, 
desperately wounded as he was, had received no attention whatever. 
Perhaps it was because the diamond on his cap indicated that he be- 
longed to the 3d Corps and there were men of their own corps just as 
much in need of assistance as was he. I say this may have been the 
case, so I will make no reflections. My first act was to give my com- 
rade a drink of water and then I attempted to find some surgeon who 
would dress his wounds, but all were too busy even to hear my story. 
I then hastened back to camp and called on Hiram VV. Ferrin, Uriah 
H. Kidder, and Orren G. Colby to assist me, and together we carried 
Comrade Leavitt two miles to the 3d Corps hospital, where we found 
Dr. H. B. Fowler, who gave him immediate attention. Dr. Fowler 
administered ether at once and then placed the poor fellow on the am- 
putation table, but before removing him from the stretcher he passed 
his knife through the mass of flesh and bones and left his feet and 
ankles on the stretcher. Dr. Fowler amputated both stumps and such 
was the demand for help that my offer to assist was gladly accepted. 
The poor fellow died in the operation. 

Young Leavitt was evidently aware of his critical condition, but 
anxious to live. On the road to the hospital we met a regiment of 
cavalry, and the surgeon stopped and looked at Leavitt's wounds. 
"Well, doctor," said Leavitt, "is there any chance for me?" "Yes, 
there may be," replied the surgeon slowly. The last words the poor 
fellow spoke, addressed to Dr. Fowler, were of the same tenor, "Shall 
I pull through, doctor?" "Oh yes, you are young and I hope so," was 
the reply. 

Having seen my comrade breathe his last I looked about me before 
returning to my regiment. In one tent close by was Comrade Drake 
and by his side Sergt. Parker of Hill, each spoken of as having lost a 
leg on Thursday. The prospect for the recovery of Parker was much 
the brighter of the two, but a few days later the tying of one of the 
arteries gave way and he bled to death in a short time. 

The scene about me was one never to be forgotten. Men were 


mutilated in all conceivable ways and piles of legs and arms told of the 
work of the surgeons. Many limbs had been buried but in shallow 
trenches, and a brook close by, swollen to large proportions by the 
heavy rain that followed the battle, had uncovered many and these 
were exposed to view. 

Years later in talking with Comrade Drake of these scenes I asked 
him what disposition was made of his leg. "The hogs ate it up," was 
his prompt reply. Then he explained that he felt the pain as the flesh 
was torn from the bones by the hogs just as plainly as though the leg 
had not been amputated. As many hogs roamed the battle field and its 
vicinity, as I myself observed, I thought it quite probable that Comrade 
Drake was correct. 

After the Battle 

On Monday, the 6th, in company with some of my comrades, I 
went over that portion of the field near us. Evidences of the fearful 
strife that had taken place were on every hand — broken caissons, dis- 
abled guns and gun carriages, small arms in profusion, knapsacks and 
canteens were lying about, dead horses not yet buried and wounded 
horses looking with almost human faces at one for relief. In all direc- 
tions the earth had been plowed with shot and shell, trees were scarred 
and limbs cut from the trunks and small trees felled by the fierce iron 

At the base of Little Round Top a most ghastly sight presented 
itself. Burial parties had buried most of the dead on the field where 
they fell, but here the surface was thickly covered with rocks; graves 
were hard to dig and soil was difficult to find, or it may have been 
that this part of the field had been overlooked. At least none of the 
dead here had been buried. At the base of this hill the Johnnies had 
charged at fearful cost at Hazlett's battery placed near the summit. 
The dead lay here so thick that it was with difficulty that we could 
walk without stepping on the lifeless forms. The features of all had 
turned black and maggots were crawling in and out of the gaping 
wounds. The boulders had protected the lower part of the victims 
and nearly all the death wounds were in the head or upper parts of the 
bodies. Nearly all of them had their pockets turned inside out show- 
ing that human ghouls had here robbed the dead. These scenes are 
still vivid on the page of memory, and the remembrance causes a shud- 
der of horror still. 

There were no unburied dead in our immediate vicinity and yet 
the stench from the battlefield was terrible, and we were anxious to be 
on the move, especially as all the water that could be obtained was 
from brooks flowing over the field of battle. 


I make the statement that I carried the state flag during the third 
day's fight at Gettysburg because it is the simple truth and not be- 
cause I am disposed to claim honors that do not belong to me. Capt. 
A. W. Bartlett, in his admirable "History of the 12th Regt ," gives the 
credit, by implication at least, to Sergt. Edward L. Shepard of Co. E of 
carrying the colors on the third day. Capt. Bartlett was not at the 
battle of Gettysburg, and in his efforts to give justice to all in the fre- 
quent changes of color bearers in that fight admits that it is with great 
difficulty that he is able to arrive at what he thought to be the facts in 
the case. Capt. Bartlett says that I carried the flag after the battle 
and thus falls into the error of giving the credit to two men carrying 
the state flag at the same time, when he says that Private Shepard, 
after first taking the colors, continued to carry them till the regiment 
arrived at Point Lookout. I do not claim to know from personal ob- 
servation all the changes that took place in color bearers during that 
fight, but the following appear to be the facts, which in the main agree 
with the historian: 

Sergt. Luther H. Parker of Hill, Co. D, carried the stars and 
stripes and Sergt. Wm. J. Howe of Co. E carried the state colors into 
that fight. Sergt. Howe was killed and Sergt. Parker received his 
death wound about the same time on the afternoon of the second day, 
and most of the color guard were killed or wounded. Corp. Samuel 
Brown of Co. C, one of the guard, took the colors as Parker fell, and 
almost immediately was killed. Sergt. Charles S. Emery and Corp. 
John R. Davis, both of Co. F, seized the colors and bore them from 
the field in the retreat, thus preventing them from falling into the 
hands of the enemy. After falling back a little distance, the regiment 
was reorganized for further work, and here volunteers to carry the 
flags were called for. At this point Private George E. Worthen vol- 
unteered to take the stars and stripes and Corp. Edward L. Shepard 
the state colors, both of Co. E. These men carried the colors during 
the remainder of the day and Worthen continued this duty till the 
regiment arrived at Point Lookout. The next morning, before start- 
ing in for the work of the day, I took the state colors and carried that 
flag during that day, and for some over two weeks, when I was relieved 
by Sergt. Shepard. 

At that time we were passing through the loyal section of Mary- 
land on the march back into Virginia, and, in response to the demon- 
strations of the people, the bands and drum corps were constantly 
employed and the flags were carried unfurled. This was a hardship 
I was not equal to and was therefore relieved, and Corp. Shepard suc- 
ceeded me. The fact that Shepard took the colors on the second day 
at Gettysburg and again became color bearer a few weeks later natur- 
ally led the historian to conclude that he carried the colors during the 


In order to substantiate my statement by that of one who would 
be most likely to remember the facts as they were, I lately asked Lieut. 
Worthen, who was closely associated with me on the third day at 
Gettysburg, as to his recollections of the facts. In response he writes 
under date of June 10, 1910, as follows: "I recollect the facts to be that 
Sergts. Howe and Parker carried the colors into the fight the second 
day of the engagement, the first day that the 12th Regt. was engaged; 
that Sergt. Howe fell and I took the U. S. flag and carried it the bal- 
ance of that day, through the next day and until the regiment reached 
Point Lookout. When Sergt. Parker, who carried the state colors, 
fell, Sergt. Shepard took them and carried them the balance of that 
day. On the morning of the third day's fight Sergt. R. W. Musgrove 
took the state colors, carried them through that day's fight and for 
some weeks later." 

Signed "George E. Worthen." 

Saturday night a fearful rainstorm came as usual after a battle. 
The men were unprepared, for such a storm and suffered much during 
the night. In the morning we moved to higher ground, but it was 
impossible to obtain water, except we used the washings of the battle 
field, and the stench grew worse rather than better. 

On Sunday, July 5, it was known that the rebel army was on the 
retreat. Gen. Imboden of the Confederate army, who had charge of 
the wounded sent south from the battle field, has written that his train 
of wounded men was seventeen miles in length. 

Capt. Bartlett's Description 

The following description is taken from Capt. Bartlett's History of 
the Twelfth Regiment: 

"Shortly after noon the very windows of Heaven seemed to have 
been opened. Rain fell in dashing torrents, and in a little while the 
whole face of the earth was covered with water. The meadows be- 
came small lakes, raging streams ran across the road in every depres- 
sion of the ground. The storm increased in fury every moment, can- 
vas was no protection against it, and the poor wounded lying upon the 
hard, naked boards of the wagon-bodies were drenched by the cold 
rain. Horses and mules were blinded and maddened by the storm 
and became almost unmanageable. The roar of the winds and waters 
made it almost imposssible to communicate orders; night was rapidly 
approaching and there was danger that in the darkness the confusion 
would become 'worse confounded.' 

"About 4 p. m. the head of the column was put in motion and 
begun the ascent of the mountain. The train was seventeen miles long 
when drawn out on the road. It was moving rapidly and from every 
wagon issued wails of agony. For four hours I galloped along, pass- 
ing to the front and heard no more — it was too dark to see — of the 


horrors of war that I had witnessed from the battle of Bull Run to 
that day. In the wagons were men wounded and mutilated in every 
conceivable way. Some had their legs shattered by a shell or Minie 
ball; some were shot through their bodies; others had arms torn to 
shreds; some had received a ball in the face, or a jagged piece of shell 
had lacerated their heads. 

"Scarcely one in a hundred had received adequate surgical aid; 
and many had been without food for thirty-six hours. 

"Their ragged, dirty, and bloody clothes, all clotted and hardened 
with blood, were rasping the tender, inflamed lips of their gaping 
wounds. Very few of the wagons had even straw in them, and all 
were without springs. The road was rough and rocky. The jolting 
was enough to have killed strong, sound men. From nearly every 
wagon as the horses trotted along such cries and shrieks as these 
greeted our ears: 

" 'O God! Why can't I die?' 

' 'My God! Will no one have mercy and kill me, and end my 

" 'Oh! stop one minute, take me out and leave me by the roadside 
to die.' 

" 'I am dying! I am dying! Oh, my poor wife and children! 
What will become of you?' 

"Some were praying, others were uttering the most fearful oaths 
and imprecations that despair could wring from them in their agony. 
Occasionally a wagon would be passed from which only low, deep 
moans and groans could be heard. No help could be given to any of 
the sufferers. On, on, we must move on. 

"The storm continued and the darkness was fearful. There was 
no time even to fill a canteen with water for a dying man; for, except 
for the driver and guards, disposed in compact bodies every half mile, 
all were wounded in that vast train of human misery. No language 
can convey an idea of the horrors of that most horrible of all nights of 
our long and bloody war." 

While here the army was still further cheered by the news of the 
fall of Vicksburg, and the rank and file were anxious to be led against 
the rebel army in the hope that the work of crushing the rebellion 
might be finished then and there. 

Instead of this, however, came the news that the rebel army was 
retreating. The greater part of our army was in pursuit. The next 
morning (Monday, July 6) an order was read that our cavalry had 
destroyed the enemy's pontoons. This was cheering, but we saw no 
indications later that the report was true, at least it resulted in no 
serious injury to the rebel army. 

South Again 

At 3 o'clock Tuesday morning (July 7), the 3d Corps commenced 
its march southward. It halted at noon at Emmitsville or Emmits- 
burg, and then pressed on and bivouacked for the night near Mechanics- 


town, about 18 miles from Gettysburg. Wednesday we reached Fred- 
erick City, Md.. and Thursday night bivouacked at Foxes Gap, South 
Mountain, northeast of Frederick City, and Friday (10th) marched to 
within five miles of Hagerstown, Md., still further to the north east, 
reaching there about 7 p. m. Here we expected to remain for the night, 
but at 10 o'clock the call to fall in was sounded and we tramped five 
miles more to Boonesboro, which we reached at 3 a. m. Saturday. We 
halted in a wheat field, and the newly cut grain made comfortable beds 
for the remainder of the night for the weary soldiers. 

Now came several days of comparative inactivity. We were hang- 
ing about the rebel army, apparently not daring to attack, and our 
movements were regulated by theirs. At one point we occupied strong 
intrenchments just vacated by the enemy. We were constantly under 
arms and were frequently drawn up in line of battle but apparently 
neither side dared bring on a general engagement. 

One day (Tuesday, July 14) I had a rare treat for those days — 
an opportunity to take a bath, and I washed my shirt. As I had but 
one shirt I was obliged to put it on wet after giving it a scrubbing. 

On Wednesday, July 15, the reveille sounded at 5 o'clock, and we 
were told we would not have time to make coffee and but few attempted 
to make any. I concluded to see what could be done in that line and 
succeeded not only in making coffee but drinking it, and then, after 
falling into line, we stood where we were for the entire 12th Corps to 
pass, then we struck almost into a double quick through Pleasanttown 
and reached Sharpsburg, where we halted ten minutes. Then we were 
told we were to march through the town and then rest a few hours. 
We resumed the march and on, on we rushed through the dust, under 
the hot sun, spurred on by the officers, and it seemed that some great 
emergency must demand such hasty marching; and so the men did the 
best they could. But Gen. Lee's army had crossed the river into Vir- 
ginia two days before, and if there was any justification for this haste 
the men in the ranks never found it out. There were many cases of 
sun stroke, and I saw several by the wayside who appeared to be dying. 
Straggling was very general and finally all semblance of organization 
was lost and the head of the column halted, and went into camp to 
allow the stragglers to catch up. 

This day we passed over the Antietam battle ground, crossing the 
stream here on the stone bridge, which was one of the storm centers 
of that fight. There were many evidences of the severity of this 
engagement, chiefly on the trees, which had not yet outgrown the 
wounds they then received. 

That afternoon we went into camp near where a sutler had just 
erected a large tent well stocked with supplies for the men. Not since 
the army had left camp near Falmouth had there been an opportunity 


to patronize a sutler and the crush was great. The sutler had but few 
clerks and the officers must be served first so the men had to wait. 
Tired as all were, and hungry as many were, grumbling and threats 
soon commenced; and then the high prices charged and the poor quality 
of the goods only exasperated them the more. My tent was but 
a little way off on higher ground in full view of the sutler's tent, and 
seeing trouble in the air I retired to my tent to take observations. But 
a short time elapsed when the excited men drew their jackknives and cut 
all the guys of the tent, and then there was a grand rush for the sutler's 
goods, and the poor man's stock was rapidly disposed of at retail but 
at ruinous prices, and a thousand men were making tracks for their tents 
loaded with sutler's goods, and by the time a guard arrived, there were 
no soldiers or supplies in the immediate vicinity. The goods were dis- 
tributed with marvelous quickness. A box of tobacco, for instance, 
which started off on the shoulder of a man, was almost instantly dis- 
tributed into the pockets of the men, and nothing but the box remained. 
Sutlers were in the army to make money. They generally made it, but 
got the ill will of the men by their extortion. 

The sutler of the 12th Regt., or at least the man who acted for 
him, Woodbury Sanborn, was an exception to the rule. He was a 
firm friend of the boys, and was respected and loved by them in turn. 
After the war as long as he lived, he was a leading spirit in their re- 
unions. He it was that had the big rock at the Weirs lettered in honor 
of the several state organizations, and it was to his honor that the me- 
morial fence was erected about the stone. 

In our march through Maryland going south, as in going north in 
the pursuit of Lee, the people showed their loyalty in many ways, and 
this was recognized by the army in marching as though on parade, the 
drum beating or bands playing and the colors unfurled. In carrying 
the colors on the march rolled up as they usually were, it was but little 
more difficult than a musket, but in marching through Maryland, the 
colors were unfurled much of the time, and, especially if even a light 
wind blew, it required all my strength, light in stature and weight, as I 
was, to carry them and keep in my place in the line. Each day the task 
became harder and I was finally obliged to ask the adjutant to relieve 
me, and he did, Sergeant A. L. Shepard of Co. C succeeding me, as 
stated previously. 

For a few days, after being relieved of the colors, I felt played out. 
In fact I was sick, and one morning I responded to the sick call, and 
Dr. Fowler promptly gave me an order for a ride in the ambulance. This 
was the only time that I was even excused from the ranks while on 
the march on account of sickness, or asked to be; and this morning, 
when presenting myself at the ambulances, I found they were full, so, 
after giving my knapsack to one of the drivers, I trudged on afoot. 


On Friday, July 17, we reached Harper's Ferry, and had a fine 
opportunity to see this world renowned place. We marched past the 
engine house, where John Brown and his deluded followers made a 
brave defence, thence crossed the river into Virginia, and bivouacked 
on Boliver Heights. 

The next morning, early, we resumed the march and reached Hills- 
boro. Here we halted about an hour and then retraced our steps a 
half mile and went into camp. While resting beside the road in Hills- 
boro, I observed a spring house near a planter's residence, and so visi- 
ted it to fill my canteen. On entering, I was agreeably surprised to 
find several pans and pails of sweet milk placed in the running water 
to keep them cool. It was a lucky find for a thirsty soldier. I took 
a liberal drink, filled my canteen and rejoined my comrades, telling 
them of my find; and a large number at once made a break for the 
spring house, and all the milk left promptly disappeared. Later in the 
day, I picked some blackberries, and the same day one of my comrades 
captured a chicken at a near-by farmhouse, which I broiled and assisted 
in eating, so that I fared pretty well that day. We were then in the 
same vicinity as in the previous fall, when we fared so well by forag- 

We left Hillsboro early Sunday morning (July 19th), and marched 
ten miles, and the next day fifteen miles to Upperville, Va., and 
encamped only a few rods from one of our camping places the fall 

About 2 p. m., Wednesday (22d), we left Upperville, marched 
about eight miles and bivouacked a mile beyond Piedmont Station. 
Early the next morning, we resumed the march, and leaving the War- 
rington road, took the one that led through Manassas Gap to Front 
Royal. The road was up and down steep hills, over rocks and through 
brooks. The road thus hard and the day hot, we were glad to halt 
and stack arms about four miles from Front Royal. Here the cavalry 
men told us that the "Rebs" were but two or three miles in advance, 
and soon we saw a part of the Third Brigade advance as skirmishers 
and very soon open fire. They continued to advance and the reserve to 
follow up, with the remainder of the brigade in line of battle. 

We had a fine view of this advance. As expected, our turn to 
move forward soon came. The enemy fell slowly back for about a 
mile, we following, when the firing commenced to grow warmer, and 
the enemy opened upon us with their artillery, but fell short of reach- 
ing us and did us but little harm. 

We took quite a number of prisoners as we moved onward. Two 
rebels, when they saw a captain fall in our lines, threw down their 
guns and ran and helped him to our rear, thus getting into our lines. 


Darkness coming on, we lay down to rest on the ground by our 
arms, with equipments all on, ready to spring into line at a moment's 
warning. We had no permission to sleep, 'even in that condition, but 
as the order was to rest, and as we were fatigued, we soon fell asleep 
and did not wake up until morning, although we lay on the rocks upon 
the side of a hill so steep that we had to get our heels against a stone 
to keep from sliding down. 

The engagement here was but little more than a skirmish, and the 
dead and wounded numbered but a hundred or two. The rebel loss 
was perhaps as heavy in men who allowed themselves to be captured 
as by the dead and wounded. As we pressed on towards Front Royal, 
there lay beside the road a dead rebel. He was perhaps twenty-five 
years of age, tall and fine looking. In contrast with the usual southern 
soldier, he was well dressed, clean shaved and with curly hair that ex- 
tended to his shoulders. He had evidently prided himself on his good 
looks, and was quite likely the idol of some household or the center of 
some fashionable circle. The sight of this dead man impressed me 
deeply, accustomed though I was at that time to scenes of death, and 
during the years that have since passed, I have frequently recalled that 

We expected a renewal of the fight next day, but in the morning 
there were no rebels to be found, and we advanced to within a mile of 
Front Royal, when a single shell sent over by the enemy caused us to 
halt, form a line of battle again, and in this way we moved forward 
upon ground perfectly awful to march over. When we got to the 
town we halted, and a cavalry force was sent ahead, but discovered no 
rebels that side of the Shenandoah river. We then retraced our steps, 
and marched back about eight miles where we camped for the night. 
That day we marched about 16 miles, halting for the night with- 
in six miles of Warrington, where our regiment did picket duty, start- 
ing again next morning about 5 o'clock. 

We supposed we were to have a rest at Warrington, and draw 
some shoes and clothing, which we were really suffering for. My feet 
had been so sore for several days as to give me great pain every time I 
stepped. Instead of resting, we passed through the town toward Cul- 
pepper. It was hot and dusty, and we were so worn out that it seemed 
impossible to move any further. In this condition we were taking a 
short rest, and the bugle had just sounded for us to "fall in," when an 
order came for our regiment to proceed no further, as we were detached 
from our brigade and ordered to report to General Marston. It was 
said we were going to Point Lookout to guard prisoners; and if ever 
news was gladly received by weary soldiers, this was by us. Yet we 
hardly dared to believe it true, but we were glad for a change of some 
or almost any kind that promised a little rest. 


On Sunday, July 26, the regiment marched back to Warrington, 
and I was detailed with eight men to guard the regimental property, 
which was sent to the depot there. After posting my men, I made an 
individual boiled dinner in my tin cup. My haversack contributed the 
salt pork, and a southern gentleman's garden, near by, contributed the 
vegetables. I was anxious to make coffee in the same dipper, and so 
I presume I did not give the dinner a sufficient time to boil, but it was 
a good treat even if not quite done when eaten. 

As may be imagined, the boys were delighted at the prospect of a 
change. For forty-seven days they had been on the march or on the 
battle field; they were reduced in flesh and exhausted in body; the shoes 
had almost entirely disappeared from the feet of many; and the clothes 
of all were ragged and dirty. No wonder the boys went into camp 
with light hearts, waiting for the train to convey them to Washington, 
where they were to take the boat for Point Lookout. 

The 2d and 5th Regiments, N. H. Vols., were equally fortunate, 
as they, too, were detached from the Army of the Potomac, and, like 
the 12th, ordered to report to Gen. Marston for duty at Point Lookout. 
On reaching Washington, the 5th was still further famed, for from 
there they were ordered to New Hampshire to recruit, and did not 
reach Point Lookout till November following. 

The several regiments composing Gen. Marston's brigade and the 
prisoners we had captured at Front Royal and some others left War- 
rington, Va., for Washington in three trains at 10 a. m., Monday, July 
27, 1863, the 12th Regt. moving first. We arrived at Washington 
about midnight. 

On our passage from Warrington to Alexandria and Washington, 
the people gathered at the stations to see us pass. This was especially 
true at Alexandria, and the disloyalty of the people was shown in 
many ways. We had as one member of the 12th, a man who was con- 
nected with the commissary or quartermaster's department, and was 
not therefore obliged to wear a regulation suit at all times. He had 
procured a butternut jacket and found he could get favors at the farm- 
houses, when wearing it much better than when he wore a blue jacket, 
many supposing him a Johnnie. On this trip he wore this jacket and 
rode in the baggage car unarmed with the guard, and many of the 
people evidently thought he was, like others with us, a prisoner of war, 
and he consequently received many favors from the people, among 
which were kisses thrown at him by the girls. Even in Washington, 
more favors were shown the prisoners than we received, showing that 
the sessession element there was still prominent. 

On arriving at Washington, we were given quarters in the soldiers 
barracks. When in Washington ten months before we were a thousand 


strong, but at this time, there were just sixty-nine guns as they were 
stacked in the center of our quarters. 

The first day here was devoted to rest and it was appreciated. In 
the afternoon I visited the new capitol near by, then in process of con- 
struction. Peddlers selling all kinds of pastry and fruit swarmed 
about our quarters all the time we were there, but, fortunately, per- 
haps, we were short of money and could not indulge as freely as the 
appetite suggested. Our prisoners, who were quartered in adjoining 
barracks, did not need to purchase, for friends brought all they could 

On the night of the 28th an incident occurred that showed how 
easily even veterans may be stampeded when taken by surprise. Dur- 
ing the day we learned that some cavalry regiments which were in 
the city were disgruntled about something and disposed to make 
trouble. At night we were told to have our arms and equipments 
ready for instant use, as we might be called during the night to help 
the authorities preserve order. The guns were stacked in the middle 
of the barracks, and the men slept on both sides of the stack. In the 
middle of the night a man got up in his sleep and butted over the first 
stack of guns. This struck the second stack and that went over. In 
turn the whole line went crashing to the floor. One of the first guns 
that fell struck a man on the foot and in pain or fright he cried out. 
The scream and the crash of arms made the men think the cavalry 
were among them cutting and slashing. The men sprang to their 
feet and rushed like mad men from the building, and by the time they 
were fairly awake, they found themselves in the middle of the street. 
It chanced that I was awake at the time the cause of the panic hap- 
pened and saw it all, and as the men commenced to spring from the 
floor I yelled at the top of my voice that there was no cause for alarm, 
but not a man heard me. This episode was the cause of a hearty 
laugh when the men came to their senses. 

Wednesday, July 29, Lon Jewett and I worked making out the pay- 
roll of our company for the previous two months. 

On Friday, July 31, we were paid for four months' service, and the 
afternoon of the same day, about 6 o'clock, we went on board the 
steamer "John Brooks," at 7th Street wharf, and about noon the next 
day landed at Point Lookout, Md. 



Point Lookout is a narrow arm of land one-fourth mile wide, lying 
between the mouth of the Potomac river and Chesapeake bay in Mary- 
land. The Potomac there was three or four miles wide and its waters 
on the south washed the northern shores of Virginia; to the east was 
the broad expanse of the bay, while a mile or more to the north the 
land between these two bodies of water was contracted to a narrow 
strip, so that the Point was almost an island — an ideal place for a camp 
of prisoners of war, its surrounding waters being easily guarded by 
gun boats and the narrow strip spoken of easily guarded by a battery. 

Previous to the war the Point was a summer resort of some note 
for those days. One small hotel stood on the beach facing the bay, 
and long rows of barrack-like cottages, all connected, stood south of 
the hotel, one facing the bay and another the river. 

At the time of our going there, the United States had a general 
hospital at the extreme point in buildings erected for the purpose, with 
a capacity of 500 beds. At this time about one-half were filled. The 
hotel was appropriated by Gen. Marston as headquarters. 

To soldiers from the field, with the experience that had been ours 
during the year previous, the Point seemed almost a fairy land. Our 
shelter tents were discarded, and we drew new A tents, one for each 
two men. The officers drew wall tents. These were pitched on a 
well-laid-out ground on the Potomac shore. The second regiment 
encampment was just south of us on the same shore, while the camp 
for rebel prisoners was located on the Chesapeake shore, east of our 
camp, and here were placed the prisoners we brought with us from the 

The next day, after our arrival, we drew new clothes throughout. 
This was indeed a luxury. For a long time what little we had 

had been ragged and dirty, and, worse than all, infested with vermin. 
For several weeks a daily exercise, when time could possibly be found, 
was taking off our clothes and hunting for "greybacks." Even with 
this treatment, they continued so numerous they were a constant annoy- 
ance, especially at night, when they greatly disturbed our slumbers. 
Carrying our new clothes in a bundle at arms length so they would 
not come in contact with the old, we traveled to beyond the limits of 
the camp, where we shed the old ones, took a good bath, donned the 


new, and traveled back to camp. If "clothes do not make the man," 
they certainly on this occasion made us feel more like men than we 
were before. 

The rebel prisoners were generally well satisfied at their lot. 
When they landed I was one of the sergeants of the guard over them. 
Their presence attracted all the men and boys on the Point, who 
crowded the guard so closely that I was obliged to order them back. 
In doing this, I ordered one of the Johnnies, who was dressed in civilian 
clothes, to "get out from among those prisoners and let them alone." 
The fellow evidently did not care for an opportunity to escape, and 
hesitated about obeying the order, and the other Johnnies joined in a 
laugh that told me the mistake I was making, and so I added, "I guess 
you may as well stay where you are." 

Almost from the moment the regiment broke ranks on the Point, 
there was a grand rush of the boys for every scrap of board that could 
be utilized for a seat, a bunk or a table. Everything loose in sight 
was soon traveling towards camp, and then some made a descent on 
the board fence near the Hammond general hospital. The small guard 
at this point was entirely inadequate for its protection, and then the 
surgeon in charge found that he could protect but a very small area 
at one time. A few days later not a board was left to his fence. A. W. 
Jewett at this time was 1st sergeant of Co. D, and I was his tent-mate. 
In a little while we had a bunk in which to sleep and a table, though 
I do not now remember where or how we got the material of which 
they were composed. 

One source of pleasure at the Point was the water, where we could 
bathe and sail and fish to our hearts content. For a week or two no 
duty was required of the men except such as was absolutely necessary. 

Under date of Aug. 12, I find the following entered in my diary. 
"One year ago today twelve of us boys enlisted. Of that number, 
Henry Kidder, Dan Nelson, Luther Parker, and Charles G. Smith are 
dead; five have been severely wounded; and only three, Lon Jewett, 
Uriah H. Kidder, and myself, remain for duty. As great a change has 
taken place throughout the regiment. Oh, how many hearts are bleed- 
ing for lost ones slain by the ruthless hand of war, and how many more 
are doomed, God only knows." 

On the night of Aug. 13, we were given a taste of Point Lookout 
weather. There was a very severe thunder storm, accompanied by a 
gale that leveled scores of tents. The officers' quarters suffered most 
because their tents were the larger, and the wind struck them with 
greater force. The morning presented a ludicrous sight — many an 
officer drenched to the skin was walking the beach waiting for the day. 

The camp for the prisoners of war was, as before stated, on Chesa- 
peake bay. Soon after our arrival, Sergeant Fellows of Co. H and I 


were detailed for permanent duty in this camp, and I continued there 
for some months. I, therefore, had a fine opportunity to study these 
men, and I became well acquainted with many of them, some of whom 
I esteemed highly. Among the number were some brother Masons, 
and it was a pleasure to contribute to their comfort, and indeed to the 
comfort of all as well as I could. 

Point Lookout 

These men were quartered in A tents like our own, though they 
were older and as many as could lie down in them were assigned to 
each, usually six. The government allowed the same rations to pris- 
oners of war as to its own soldiers, and at first, there was no "savings" 
from their rations for any purpose — there were so few of them that 
this perhaps did not pay, at least there was no systematic savings, and 
if these men did not receive all the law allowed, it was because there 
was a shrinkage as it passed through the hands of the commissary 
department. This food was prepared by cooks chosen by the men 
themselves, and at first, apparently, the men were satisfied with their 

Their tents were arranged in streets, with enough for one hundred 
men in a street. I was at first given charge of one street, but as the 
number of men increased by additional arrivals, the number under 
the command or charge of each sergeant was increased to five hundred, 
and so I finally was in command of 500 Johnnies. As the new men 
arrived, it was our duty to make out a descriptive list of each, record- 
ing his name, age, birthplace, his company and regiment, and when 


and where captured. Their signatures were required, and it was sur- 
prising to a Northerner to find the large number who could not read 
or write. 

Each day the men were called into line and responded to a roll 
call, and the policing and sanitary conditions of the grounds were 
looked after. After a little, a sergeant of their own number was selec- 
ted, who made a daily detail for police duty and had some authority 
and was held responsible for the good order of his street. He also 
called the roll, and I simply counted the men as they stood in line to 
see that all were present. 

Large wall tents were erected for the accommodation of their sick. 
The regimental surgeons visited this hospital at stated times, but the 
immediate care of the sick fell very properly upon nurses from their 
own ranks. 

At first there was simply a guard around their camp day and night, 
but very soon a stockade of logs placed upright in the ground was 
made, the prisoners being compelled to do all the work. The number 
of prisoners continued to increase until they numbered ten thousand. 
Then a board fence, or stockade, was erected, To surround this large 
camp on three sides required a fence about one mile long; it was 
twelve feet high, the boards being square edged and placed close to- 
gether. About two feet from the top was a walk, on which the guard 
walked back and forth. The whole was made strong enough to with- 
stand a rush of the men in the camp, if one should be made. 

In place of cooking out doors, ten cook houses and mess houses 
were erected, each to accommodate one thousand men. The cook houses 
were provided with large arch kettles in which to do the cooking for 
one thousand men; these cook houses being in charge of details from 
the prison camp. In the mess rooms there were four or five long 
tables, at which the men stood and ate their meals. 

In place of tents for the hospital spoken of above, wooden bar- 
racks were erected outside the stockade at the north, and a short dis- 
tance to the south, another stockade was erected for the confinement 
of commissioned officers of the rebel army. 

With this general view of the arrangements for the entertainment 
of these men at various stages of the growth of the encampment while 
we were there, I will now go back to near the commencement of our 
stay there and take up another line of facts that will again lead us to 
speak of the stockade and cook houses. 

Aug. 18, another installment of five hundred Johnnies reached 
camp, and other sergeants were detailed for work in the prison, and 
the work of those already detailed largely increased. Among the new 
sergeants detailed was Sergt. Simeon Swain of the 2d Regt., who after 
the war resided for many years in New Hampton. Most of these new 


comers were North Carolinians from Gen. Jackson's old corps, and 
this may have accounted for the fact that they were a very religious 
set of men. Though gambling was the constant diversion of a large 
number, the religious element seemed to be stronger among these men 
than among other men of the Confederate army, and stronger than in 
our own army. Every evening prayer meetings were held in the large 
space between the tents and the cook houses, which were attended by 
a large proportion of the men, and the fervent prayers that were offered 
for the success of their arms and for the preservation of the men in the 
field fighting for the right, as they saw it, left no doubt that no men 
ever fought with more devotion, or a firmer belief in the justice of 
their cause than did these men of the Southern Confederacy. There 
was one man, a local preacher, well advanced in years, whose eloquence 
and pathos were calculated to win all hearts as he dwelt on the justice 
of their cause and talked with quivering lips of his four sons in the 
western army fighting for the right. I was a frequent spectator at 
these meetings, and I always went away impressed with the sincerity 
of these men. On more than one occasion as I traveled from the Rebel 
prison to my own quarters, I could hear songs of praise arising to 
heaven from both the Rebel and Union soldiers at the same time. 

I remember one Sunday evening in particular. The southern 
moon, assisted by the starry hosts of heaven, half lighted up the 
encampment, disclosing the white tents of the Union army, with its 
sentinels pacing to and fro, the dark stockade of the rebel prison, with 
the guard walking near the top, and the cannon trained to deal instant 
death and destruction should occasion demand. The refreshing breeze 
of the balmy evening fanned the brow. I stopped to take in the scene, 
which was picturesque in the extreme, and would have been almost 
enchanting, were it not for the work we had in hand. From the rebel 
prison and from the Union encampment came songs of supplication 
and praise, borne on the night air, their strains mingling as they ascen- 
ded to heaven, both the Union and rebel hosts sincerely worshipping 
the same God, both believing in the justice of their cause, and devoutly 
asking high heaven to assist them to annihilate the other. These 
incidents provoked serious thought on my part, and I could but ask 
myself the question, Why is it that men so earnestly desirous to be in 
the right as these men are, are left entirely in the dark as to their true 
position. Instead of acquiring any light, both sides arose from their 
knees more firmly resolved to fight for the "right" as they saw it. They 
became better soldiers thereby, and when they again met in conflict, 
the slaughter was all the more terrible because of their faith and their 
prayers. Perhaps some theologian can explain all this, but we have 
never met one who could. Fifty years after the conflict some politi- 
cians tell us that both sides were right, and perhaps that should satisfy 


us for all the sacrifice made and the blood spilt in this fratricidal conflict. 

Soon after the establishment of this camp, letters began to arrive 
for these men from Baltimore or from the south, via the blockade 
runners through Baltimore, and very many of these letters contained 
United States money. This provided a way by which many could 
obtain luxuries of the sutlers at the Point, but as they could not leave 
camp to make the purchases, the sergeants on duty were requested to 
make these purchases for them and did so willingly. This trade grad- 
ually increased, and the sutlers, quick to see the advantage of capturing 
as much as possible of this trade, gave us a commission on the trade 
we brought them, and this in time amounted to quite a little, and much 
of our spare time was devoted to this kind of work, while the prisoners 
still got their goods on the same terms as our own men. We were 
thus able to earn a dollar without wronging the Johnnies a whit. But 
this thing was not long to continue, for some one at headquarters had 
discovered the value of the trade with the Johnnies, and one day an 
order came for all of the sergeants in charge to appear at brigade 
headquarters. We obeyed at once, when Adj. -Gen. Lawrence addressed 
us, short, but to the point, "I am directed by General Marston to 
say to you that if he catches one of you fellows purchasing any sup- 
plies for the Johnnies in the future, he will not leave as much as a 
grease spot of one of you." We were thunder struck. What earthly 
objection could there be to supplying these men with luxuries that 
they paid for! But it was unmilitary for us to reply or even to ask a 
question. We had simply to obey. The answer came next day. Then 
a sutler's stand was erected outside the stockade with an opening into 
the prison, where the Johnnies could spend all the money they had and 
be obliged to pay such a price as this sutler's conscience would allow 
him to impose without any fear of competition. Another thing, all 
the letters addressed to the Johnnies were now examined by the clerks 
at headquarters, and all money they contained was held back under the 
plea that they might use it to bribe the guard, and an equal amount 
in checks was substituted, which checks were only of use in purchas- 
ing goods of this particular sutler at his own price. 

All letters that arrived for the prisoners from Baltimore and 
other places and all letters written in camp were carefully read. When- 
ever these letters contained anything objectionable, either in the way 
of disloyal sentiment, giving improper information, or complaining of 
the situation, they were destroyed. It generally happened that those 
going in contained a stamp for a reply, sometimes quite a number, and 
those coming out had uncancelled stamps on the envelopes. All stamps 
on objectionable letters became the property of the clerk destroying 
the letters. The stamps taken from the envelopes were regummed 
and loose stamps substituted for sheets going in, and so the clerks had 


stamps in fit condition for sale. This supervision of the mail was 
necessary, but whether there was any abuse of the practice is left for 
those with a knowledge of human nature to judge. 

Another source of income the Johnnies had was the making of 
trinkets for sale to the Union soldiers and visitors. They made a large 
number of rings from bones obtained at the cook houses, and fancy 
fans made from one straight piece of wood, steamed, and then cut and 
bent to the shape desired and tied in position by ribbon purchased of 
the sutler. Some of these were decidedly artistic and brought good 
prices. The sergeants often bought these trinkets outright and sold 
them among the Union soldiers, or sold them on commission, and 
among all the trade of this kind I always noticed the same scrupulous 
honesty and square dealing between the men of the two armies as be- 
tween men in our own army. Indeed the poor fellows shut up in that 
prison pen were objects of pity to many a Union soldier. There was 
no ill will between the rank and file of the two armies. 

We have elsewhere stated that the government allowed prisoners 
of war the same rations as men in its own army. This was true, but 
a full ration did not reach these men except during a short time after 
the camp was first opened. The government fixed the price of the 
ration at so much per day, at this time at thirty cents or nine dollars per 
month, if I am not mistaken, and any company in the Union army could 
drav, a part of the rations in money if it so chose and thus create a 
company fund with which to purchase delicacies not provided by the 
commissary. The same rule applied to prisoners of war, and at Point 
Lookout it was commonly reported, and generally believed, that the 
Johnnies themselves paid for all the luxuries that they enjoyed, such 
as a high stockade, cook houses and mess houses, hospitals, etc., as 
extensive and costly as they were, though they could not be eaten. In 
other words the savings from their rations, or from thirty cents per 
day, paid all these bills. Such a cut was enough to reduce the food to 
the lowest amount for each man, and even if the commissary was scru- 
pulously honest and intended to issue the full amount to which the 
Johnnies were entitled after the cut, the details of the work must be 
executed by subordinates, and there may have been instances where 
the Johnnies did not get all they were entitled to, even at this stage of 
the game. 

However this may be, it was very evident that there was a further 
shrinkage after the food reached the prison camp before it reached the 
men. The prisoners of war in charge of the cook houses did not hesi- 
tate to live high and see that their friends lived well, for there was no 
one to call them to account or had sufficient interest to call them to 
account, even if they had authority; and so at the final division the 
amount was extremely small for each man. Meals were served twice 


a day — at about 9 o'clock a. m. and 4 p. m. On the tin plates, arranged 
on the tables, were placed the small pieces of boiled pork, or cornbeef, 
beans and hard tack as the case might be, and when all was ready, 
the rebel sergeants in charge marched their men in single file on each 
side of the table, gave the command, "Halt! Inward face!" when each 
man faced his plate and devoured his meal without further ceremony; 
but here again there was a frequent shrinkage. The strong, as they 
passed along, would sometimes grab from a plate the ration that be- 
longed to another, and many a poor fellow as he inward faced found 
little or nothing on the plate before him. This state of affairs led to 
frequent fights, sometimes attended with fatal results. One night a 
raid was made by dissatisfied and hungry men on one of the cook 
houses, and a hatchet thrown by one of the cooks buried itself in the 
breast of one of the attacking party, killing him instantly. 

Treatment of Prisoners 

Human nature was the same in the North as in the South, and 
those who suppose that prisoners of war from the Southern army were 
invariably treated well, would probably revise their opinion, could they 
know the full and truthful history of what the southern soldiers suffered 
in Northern prisons. That many in this prison knew what the cravings 
of hunger were, there could be no doubt in the minds of those who 
could see the true condition of affairs. As cold weather came on, there 
was much suffering on account of the cold. That could hardly be 
otherwise under the circumstances. These men, or most of them, when 
captured were clothed for summer service in the field, and their cloth- 
ing was of the scantiest. By the time cold weather came, there were 
ten thousand of these men in this prison, and to have clothed, nursed 
and fed all these as humanity demanded would have cost a very large 
sum and have made this prison pen a sort of sanitarium for the rebel 
army, where the men could rest and recuperate, and when exchanged, 
return to their southern service stronger and better clothed than when 
they came. Still the most destitute were relieved. 

On the 24th of September, I succeeded in obtaining some clothing 
for the most needy of my five hundred men, and my diary says I 
issued that day twenty pairs of pants, forty pairs of shoes, five coats, 
and ten blankets. The shoes were supplied only to those who had 
none. Details of the prisoners were allowed to go out daily and cut 
wood in the neighboring forest, and the immense loads that these fel- 
lows would "tote" into camp on their backs was the marvel of all who 
saw them. But it took a large amount of wood to warm ten thousand 
men in the open air, and the number allowed to go into the woods each 
day was very small for prudential reasons. 


That Northern men in Southern prisons were treated worse than 
Southern men in the prisons of the North, there can be no doubt. As 
a result, when exchanged, soldiers from the South were ready for 
active service in the field, while Northern men were so debilitated by 
their confinement that they were sent to their homes or the hospitals 
to recuperate. This condition grew worse as the war progressed, in 
part perhaps owing to the utter inability of the South to properly 
feed the thousands of men in their hands as prisoners of war. At one 
time there were fifty thousand Southern men held by the government 
in Northern prisons. To have exchanged these men for fifty thousand 
enfeebled Union soldiers would have meant a re-enforcement of fifty 
thousand men to the ranks of those fighting against the government — 
enough perhaps to have prolonged the war. Those who berate the 
government for declining an exchange and thus allowing so many of 
our soldiers to die of starvation in rebel prisons should take these facts 
into account. The government was not seeking to save the lives of 
men, but the life of the nation, and for every thousand saved by an 
exchange, another thousand might have fallen in battle. 

So then there seemed to be some apology for some things that 
happened or existed; in other cases there was none, of which the fol- 
lowing is a case in point. 

On one occasion a sentinel reported to the officer of the day that 
a prisoner had attempted to bribe him to allow him and others to 
escape. The sentinel was instructed to accept the bribe and to arrange 
to let the party out of the stockade, at a certain hour that night. This 
was done, and the party, five in number, passed out of the stockade. 
They had proceeded but a few rods when their suspicions were aroused 
that the coast was not clear, and they started to return, when an armed 
party lying in wait fired upon them without even demanding their 
surrender. One was killed and others were wounded. The officer in 
command, a one-armed captain of the 2d regiment, was said to have 
actually shot one man twice after he had surrendered, remarking, "This 
is in exchange for the loss of my arm." One of the wounded men, 
while in the hospital, stated to the writer that he was wounded after 
he surrendered. It is but justice to the Union soldiers doing guard 
duty at the Point to add that this transaction was universally con- 

As was to be expected there were frequent attempts to escape, but 
only a very few were successful. Occasionally some of the wood party 
would secrete themselves in the woods, hoping at night to emerge 
from their hiding places and escape. Such generally found themselves 
surrounded by cavalry when they attempted to travel toward liberty. 
At one time a tent was erected on the parade ground in the prison, 
nearer the fence than the rest, ostensibly for the purpose of making 


brick. This finally excited suspicion, when it was found that this tent 
covered the entrance to a tunnel that had been constructed half way 
to the fence. On another occasion all the Johnnies were paraded, and 
while in line, their quarters were examined. Among the contraband 
articles found were two or three muskets, several oars, and boards 
shaped to be put together for a boat. 

On one occasion, while the men were bathing, I went to the beach 
which formed the eastern boundary of the prison. I noticed a barrel 
floating en the water out in the bay. I had given it only a casual look, 
when close at hand a fight commenced among the prisoners. It 
assumed such proportions that I called on the guard to quell it. When 
all was over, I noticed there were no broken heads among the men, 
and no knives were used as was usual at such times, and learned that 
night at rollcall that that fight was a bogus affair. It was put up to 
attract my attention from the barrel, because on the other side of the 
barrel was a Johnnie floating or swimming to liberty. He worked 
the barrel out into the bay and then to shore a long way from the 
stockade and escaped, or was drowned, I never knew which. 

To enforce discipline, tying up by the wrists was sometimes re- 
sorted to. This was a very painful operation and was sometimes re- 
sorted to in our army but only in extreme cases. A rope was tied 
about the wrists and drawn so tight over a high support that a large 
part of the weight of the body was sustained by the rope. This soon 
produced excruciating pain, and if long continued was almost unbear- 
able. It was said that a complaint by reason of this practice was 
lodged with the Confederate government, and that correspondence over 
the matter was carried on with the Washington government. It was 
reported that inquiries concerning the facts came to the Point from 
Washington, but they amounted to nothing. 

On one occasion Sergt. Young, of the 2d Regt., had some trouble 
with a rebel officer in the officers' quarters, and shot him dead. The 
sergeant claimed that the officer had insulted him. The provocation 
was evidently considered sufficient at headquarters to justify the act, 
for the sergeant was soon after given a commission. 

In the spring of 1864, a colored regiment came to the Point for 
duty. To be guarded by their late slaves must have been the height of 
humiliation, especially to the officers. On one occasion one of these 
officers was allowed to go to the commissary under guard of a colored 
soldier, to buy some supplies. The officer did not seem to comprehend 
changed conditions, and, the supplies being purchased, he ordered the 
black man as of yore to carry his bundle. The negro stood on his 
dignity and refused. High words ensued, and the difficulty was soon 
ended by the negro shooting the officer dead in his tracks. 

Fears of an uprising among the prisoners were at different times 


entertained. To meet such an emergency a section of artillery was 
planted opposite the main entrance, loaded with grape and canister 
ready for instant use. With ten desperate men, though unarmed, as 
compared with one armed man as guard, the chances of success were 
not so remote but that it almost seems a wonder the attempt was not 
made. The difficulty of reaching Virginia even if the guard were over- 
powered probably prevented the attempt. It is now known that when 
Gen. Stuart made his descent on Washington in 1864, he included in 
his program the release of the prisoners of war at Point Lookout. 

During the winter small-pox prevailed in the prisoners' camp. Dr. 
Wm. Child of the 5th Regt., who after the war resided for several 
years in New Hampton, diagnosed all the cases in camp as fast as 
they appeared, and then the men were removed to the small-pox hos- 
pital near by, under charge of Dr. Samuel P. Carbee of the 12th Regt., 
later of Haverhill. Notwithstanding the fact that the men were hud- 
dled so closely together, the disease was soon stamped out, and no 
great mortality prevailed at any time. My duties required me to come 
in contact with the disease daily. I could not avoid it, and therefore 
concluded not to fear it and I did not contract the disease. 

My duties in the camp had hardly commenced ere some of the 
prisoners indicated a desire to take the oath of allegiance. I reported 
the facts to Brigade headquarters, and the matter was referred to Wash- 
ington. The result was that printed blanks were sent us, on which 
were a series of questions which we were to ask those desiring to take 
the oath. Their answers were written on the blanks, and these were 
sent to Washington, and the application was approved or rejected, as 
seemed wise to the clerk or officer inspecting them. This procedure 
amounted to but little, as there was no way of determining whether 
the applicant was telling the truth or a falsehood. At first many who 
took the oath went North as they were allowed to do, but later most 
remained in quarters arranged for them with the expectation of their 
enlisting in the United States service. Enough of these men enlisted 
to form two regiments, which were largely officered by men from the 
2d, 5th and 12th Regiments. It was in one of these regiments that I 
served later as first lieutenant and captain. 

The men who thus took the oath of allegiance were of various 
makeups. Some took the oath as a stepping stone to a return South 
to re-enter the Southern army; a goodly number claimed to be Union 
men, who were forced into the Southern army, men from the hill 
country of North Carolina composing the bulk of this class. These 
men made the best soldiers of any entering the Union army from the 
prison pen. Then there were foreigners who cared nothing for either 
side and sought only to improve their condition, many deserting at a 
later date. There were some bright, keen men among those who took 


the oath and enlisted, men having a fair education; but about one-half 
could neither read nor write. 

I have previously stated that there were only sixty-six muskets in 
the 12th Regt. when it reached the Point. A large number of men, 
sick or wounded, were in various hospitals, or on furloughs, and these 
gradually returned, slowly increasing our numbers. 

Among the first to arrive were George C. Currier and others of 
the drum corps, who had been doing duty in the hospitals at Gettys- 
burg since the battle there. The sixth of September, came a goodly 
number of those who had been wounded at Chancellorsville, among 
them Louis Rowe, who brought with him the overcoat I placed over 
him after finding him, as previously mentioned in my account of the 
battle of Chancellorsville; Port Hall, and Albert Nelson. Louis Rowe's 
wounds entitled him to a discharge, but he declined it, preferring to 
return to the regiment. As it was still difficult for him to carry a gun, 
I requested that he be given a position similar to my own in the rebel 
pen, and this was done. A few days later came Warren Tucker and 
others, who were also wounded at Chancellorsville. 

As the fall wore away, preparations for winter were made. The 
boys raised the tents from the ground, in some cases several feet, with 
wood underneath and built fireplaces, of wood and mud, with a chim- 
ney of the same material outside, in true Virginia style. A board floor 
was placed in the large tent used for a chapel, and seats were pro- 
cured, and the Free Masons of the several regiments belonging in New 
Hampshire secured a traveling dispensation, organized and erected a 
hall of wood, and did a flourishing business in "raising" Masons. 

On the thirteenth of November the 5th Regt., which had been to 
New Hampshire, reached the Point. Its ranks were largely recruited 
with substitutes, and about this time, or soon after, a goodly number 
of recruits or substitutes reached the Point for the 12th and 2d Regi- 
ments. This was the beginning of trouble for the veterans. Previous 
to this all the soldiers had enjoyed the greatest liberty consistent with 
their duties. They could take a boat and fish in the waters of the 
river or the bay, or they could stroll into the country as far as inclina- 
tion prompted and duty allowed. But when these fellows came, all 
these things were changed. Large numbers had deserted en route to 
their destination, and every precaution was necessary against the deser- 
tion of those that reached Point Lookout; so a strong guard was placed 
across the Point, and no one was allowed to go into the country, or use 
a boat, without a written pass, and finally nearly all boats were de- 
stroyed. These men had plenty of money and spent it recklessly. 
They were known to pay as high as twenty dollars for a canteen of 
whisky. One man paid twenty dollars for a canteen filled with water 
but wet about the outside and stopple with whisky. He was told not 


to drink any till he reached a secluded spot. Then he discovered the 
trick. They were a reckless and desperate class of men, and extreme 
measures were needed to bring them under proper discipline. One 
night one of these men stole a coffin from the carpenter's shop, used 
it for a boat, and escaped, but it was never known whether the coffin 
conveyed him to the bottom of the Potomac or to freedom. 

On the twenty-eighth of October, I was detailed as sergeant of the 
provost guard at brigade headquarters, under Capt. J N. Patterson, 
provost marshal. Although this was in the nature of a promotion, I 
obeyed the order with some misgivings. I found I had really become 
interested in my men in the rebel prison, and I left them with many 
regrets. I spent many social hours in the company of the prisoners, 
and learned the unwritten work of Masonry from them. 

The duties of my new position were various. I had charge of all 
those soldiers in confinement or in arrest for various offences. Ref- 
ugees were constantly arriving from the Virginia shore, and these I 
had to care for, and blockade runners arrested were turned over to me. 
Then I visited the dock on the arrival of every boat and examined all 
freight or express matter for the enlisted men, to see that no liquors, or 
other contraband articles, reached these men. Many a box of goodies 
for the men contained tin cans labeled maple syrup or preserves went 
into the dock, much as I disliked to deprive the boys of a smile. 

The refugees were composed of men and even families escaping 
from the South to the North, and others, largely Jews, who had visited 
the South carrying contraband goods, and who then desired to reach 
the North to repeat the same operations. Others were arrested as 
spies. All these had to be cared for and detained under guard till 
their cases were disposed of. I served under Lieut. Rufus L. Bean of 
the 2d Regt. 

When I first assumed the duties of this position I found thirty- 
seven Union soldiers in the guard house. Some had been arrested for 
trivial offenses, and there they had been allowed to remain week after 
week with no charges preferred against them, instead of being released 
the next day as regulations of the army required. I sent to head- 
quarters a list of such as I thought ought to be released, and was 
authorized to discharge eleven such men at once, and others were 
released soon after. One of these men had been in confinement eight 
weeks without charges. 

At headquarters I had a room in one of the summer cottages near 
the hotel, where Gen. Marston had his headquarters, and I messed 
with a company of perhaps a dozen clerks and others connected with 
headquarters, and a rebel prisoner, to whom Capt. Patterson had taken 
a fancy and allowed his liberty on his parole. This man was from 
New Orleans, a soldier in the organization known as the Louisiana 


Tigers. He shed his rebel rags and dressed like a gentleman, as he 
really was; and at one time, to show his appreciation of the favors ex- 
tended to him, he had shipped from New Orleans a large quantity of 
oranges, which were much enjoyed by all at Headquarters. The cook- 
ing for our mess was done by three negro women, and, as was com- 
monly remarked at the time, " we lived like white folks." 

On Christmas day I took a horseback ride "into the country," as we 
called it, that is, we visited some of the plantations a few miles from 
the Point. On this trip we rapped at the door of a planter's house, 
when a voice answered, "Come in," and we entered. The woman of 
the house was holding in her lap a boy of perhaps eight years of age, 
and she apologized for not opening the door, because she was obliged 
to hold her son, and the reason of this was that he was so drunk he 
could not stand. Then she added laughing, "Johnnie does not get 
drunk but once a year and that is at Christmas." This incident illus- 
trates the habits of many Marylanders at that time. Every planter 
kept whisky on hand as common as our farmers have ever kept cider. 

In November I went to Washington with a blockade runner by 
the name of Hayden. Dr. Fowler took the same boat for home on a 
furlough, and Benjamin Saunders for home on his discharge so I had 
the company of both of them as far as Washington. I turned my man 
over to the Provost Marshal at Washington, and by the New York 
Herald I noticed a few days later that my man Hayden had been com- 
mitted to the Old Capital prison. 

November 22, a detail of forty men and two officers were sent to 
St. George's Island to capture a band of rebels and blockade runners 
said to be located there. They were accompanied by a gun boat of 
the Potomac flotilla. They returned the next day with thirty blockade 
runners, refugees and deserters from the rebel army. Among the 
number were three who were prisoners at the Point two weeks before, 
refugees from Virginia, who were given passes to go to the very place 
where they were arrested. I provided them with rations and blankets, 
and put over them an extra guard of ten cavalrymen and left them for 
the night. 

On the 25th, twelve men, a woman and a child arrived from the Vir- 
ginia shore. Eight were escaped prisoners of war from Richmond, 
the remainder refugees, so I then had at that time a motley crowd of 
fifty-six men under my charge. 

That evening I attended a Masonic meeting and banquet at the 
so-called Masonic temple. We had a menu consisting of goose, turkey, 
duck, oysters, etc. This was followed by speaking by Rev. Capt. 
Durgin and others. The topic of conversation was news from the 
front, the fighting at Chattanooga, of Meade's advance, and Hooker 
fighting above the clouds at Lookout Mountain. 


November 30, I arrested a man by the name of Weiner from Bal- 
timore. He had come here from that city on a pass, and then had 
given his pass to a rebel prisoner, who was outside the stockade, to 
enable him to escape. He was extremely indignant at his arrest, but 
I confined him in the guard house. 

On the first of December a detail was sent from the 12th Regiment 
to Concord to recruit, among the number being Sergt. Kidder of 

December 5, the steamer Key Port arrived bringing a lot of boxes 
for the men from home. I got a box containing clothes, books, and 
eatables — small but choice. It was my duty to open the boxes for the 
enlisted men. All the intoxicating liquor found in them was thrown 
into the dock. 

December 11 a clerk in the dispensary — not an enlisted man — was 
drummed out of camp for selling liquor to an enlisted man. This was 
Gen. Marston's way of punishing the man. 

On the 14th of December Capt. Patterson got information that a 
soldier was intending to steal a boat lying near headquarters and 
desert that night. Not wishing to take his chances with an ordinary 
detail, he requested two of the clerks at headquarters and me to stand 
guard and we consented. We were to secrete ourselves behind bales 
of hay near by and our orders were to fire without a challenge on who- 
ever got into the boat. About 2 o'clock the soldier arrived, and placed 
a sail in the boat and prepared to embark. At that point the guard, 
one of the clerks, arrested him, instead of firing as ordered, his courage 
having failed him. He was turned over to Capt. Patterson, who hand- 
cuffed him. In the morning Capt. Patterson ordered me to tie the 
captured man up by the wrists which I did. I did not draw the rope 
tight enough to suit Capt. Patterson, so he took a shovel and removed 
some of the earth from under the fellow's feet, mounted his horse and 
drove off, leaving orders that the fellow be left there till he returned. 
Hour after hour passed and the agony of the victim became terrible. 
He begged me to shoot him or kill him in any way rather than let him 
suffer longer. Finally I took the shovel and crowded some earth under 
his feet to relieve him in part, despite the remarks of onlookers that I 
would catch Hell for doing it. After six hours of suffering the cap- 
tain returned and cut him down. It was hoped that such treatment 
would tend to lessen desertions, which were very frequent among the 
new recruits, nearly all of whom were bounty jumpers and substitutes. 

A few months later a man of the 5th Regiment was executed for 

On Monday morning, May 9th inst., at eight o'clock, in accordance 
with General Orders No. IS, the troops of this command were marched 
to the open field opposite the grove, and formed three sides of a hol- 


low square, to witness the execution of Henry A. Burnham, Company 
E, Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers. At twenty minutes of eight 
o'clock the prisoner, escorted by a detachment of twelve men of the 
provost guard, arrived upon the ground. After taking a position he 
was asked by Lieutenant Hilliard if he had anything to say, when he 
expressed himself as follows: — 

A Deserter's Confession 

"My friends: — The time has come when I must die. I am willing 
to die and leave this world of sorrow. There is but one step between 
me and eternity, and I feel as if it were my duty to acknowledge that 
it is for a beloved country's good that I should die at the time appoin- 
ted. I have forgiven all my friends in the Fifth New Hampshire Regi- 
ment. I have forgiven all who have ever done me wrong or injured 
me, and I hope to be forgiven by all to whom I have ever done an in- 

"Beloved friends, — I can address you as friends, for you have acted 
as such to me — it is necessary that we should all be prepared for death 
since we must all die. I admit that I am a sinner. I have not acted 
manly to the government that I have defrauded, not only once, or 
twice, but many times, and I now feel that I have done a serious 
wrong. My advice to you is, do your duty to your country, faithfully 
and well. Be true to the oath which you have taken, and you will feel 
better in your own heart. I do not see that in any other case you can 
do better. The only source of happiness in this world springs from 
doing your duty to your country and your God, and unless you serve 
them faithfully you cannot experience true enjoyment of mind. I 
would also say to you, that you have taken the oath to obey your 
superiors; so have I, and I now know the advantage which would 
arise from that obedience. It is only since I received my sentence 
that I have realized the full enormity of my errors; you should do so 
whilst you have yet time. Furthermore my advice to you in the future 
is to attend to your duty, as you owe it to yourselves and the country to 
defend her. 

"I hope if there is any one here who may have any hard feelings 
towards me, that he will forgive me as I have forgiven everyone who 
has ever done me an injury. You can all better your country far more 
by obeying the laws which govern you, and it is the last hope and 
prayer of a dying man that you will endeavor to do so. There is but 
one step between me and eternity, and in my case it is a solemn thing. 
It is solemn and sad, indeed, to stand by the bedside and watch the 
spirit of the dear friend we love taking its flight from the world; but 
if that be solemn, how much more solemn must it be to a dear friend 


of mine, to see me depart in such a way as this, with an offended law 
taking justice upon me. I die today, and it may be better that I should 
do so; as, although I may have wished that a little longer time had 
been extended to me to prepare for so awful a fate, still I may not be 
any better for it. I may be putting off repentance to the last moment, 
and then what would I have gained by the delay? I feel now as if I 
were prepared to die — as if I am prepared to meet my God. I have 
placed my whole trust in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who came 
into the world to save sinners. This has been the only subject of my 
reflections since the moment I received my sentence. I feel as if I could 
do a great deal of good for myself in this world, if I could only live, 
after the feelings which have taken possession of me within the last 
few days. But notwithstanding, I feel that it is for the beloved 
country's good, and I am satisfied. I cannot view it in any other light; 
it is necessary, and that is enough for me to know. 

"Every man of you who has common sense must know that the 
state of things which has existed here, must be stopped. This rebellion 
must be put down, the country must be defended and the law upheld; 
and how is this to be done if desertion is not checked and discipline 
preserved in our army? I think the army is fighting in a good cause — 
the suppression of the rebellion; and if desertion is tolerated, it cannot 
succeed; it might as well be given up and all those who are true to 
their oaths, return home, having gained nothing by their exertions and 

"I have, as I said before, forgiven every one who may have injured 
me; I have forgiven all the officers of the Fifth New Hampshire Regi- 
ment, as well as all the regiments in the field, and I trust in God 
that they will endeavor to be as good as they can to the private sol- 
diers. I suppose I am the first man who has been sentenced to pay 
the penalty of death on Point Lookout, Md., and I am satisfied to bear 
with it as an example. I have felt many times, since I received my sen- 
tence, that it would do the country a great deal of good by dying so — 
that I could do her more good in this way than by all the fighting I 
could do in the field, and I hope there is no one here who will doubt 
me. You do not better your condition by desertion; you may for a 
time succeed in escaping detection, but you have taken the oath before 
God and man that you will fight for the country, and it is a solemn 
and a very serious thing to break it. 

"Dear friends, I hope that you will all come to Christ immediately; 
it is very wrong for you to delay; death is before you, and you do not 
know how soon it may come. I have enjoyed in my life all the earthly 
comforts which money could give on this earth; but, after all, I was 
not happy, I was not contented, and no matter how badly he may have 
spent his life while on earth, when the time comes that he must die, he 


turns his heart to Christ for true happiness, and although I have lived 
a sinner, I want to die a Christian. Christ is willing to receive me even 
at the eleventh hour. I feel as if I were the greatest of sinners, but 
it is never too late to repent. Come to Christ immediately; the Chris- 
tian's hope is great. 

"Alas! my dear father and mother! How many hours have they 
wasted away in instructing me in the love which I owe to the Saviour! 
I forgot all their teachings; their hearts would be sad, indeed, to know 
the result of my waywardness. I never knew the worth of their 
teachings until within the last forty-eight hours. I feel it all now, the 
folly of my life, the reward of my neglect. Yes, it is true that order 
must be preserved amongst you. I say you, not myself, because I am 
about to die in a few, a very few minutes, and to appear before my God 
to answer my final account. That is a tribunal which is reserved for 
all, and from which none of us can escape, and I trust to Him for 
mercy. I have borne myself through this terrible ordeal as well as I 
could, perhaps as well as most men could, and I have been reconciled 
to my doom because it was one which I knew to be just, and because 
I threw myself upon Christ altogether in my hour of need, and I felt 
He would not forsake me. My last words then are, that you will do 
all in your power to procure for yourselves salvation. This world is 
nothing when compared with the world upon which I am about to 
enter. The trials, the sufferings of the just and righteous before God 
are easily borne with here. Be good Christians; obey the laws, and 
when your hour comes, you can call upon Christ with confident hearts. 

"My dear friends, I feel as if I could spend a much longer time 
speaking to you on this subject; I could spend a whole day, but my 
time is come. I must say farewell to all. May you never meet so sad 
a fate. May you awake to the realization of the great truths of Chris- 
tianity and reap the benefit of your devotion hereafter." 

At the conclusion of his address he requested permission of the 
provost marshal to shake hands with the men who were detailed as the 
firing party, which was at once granted. He went through the ranks, 
accompanied by Lieutenant Hilliard, and clasped each man warmly by 
the hand. His step was firm to the last, and his voice clear and dis- 
tinct. His memory seemed to catch inspiration from his position, as 
he did not forget even the most trivial matter which he wanted to settle. 
It compassed in that brief space the work which might, under ordinary 
circumstances, have taken years to accomplish. 

Having bade farewell to his friends, the spot was pointed out to 
him where he was to stand, and he walked to it with great coolness, 
though exhibiting symptoms of confusion. He stood for a few seconds 
with his hands clasped in prayer, and when he had concluded he was 
requested to bend on one knee, which having done, the word was 


given to fire. One word, alone, told that his troubles in this world 
were at an end — but two or three throes of the body, and all was still. 
The deceased was a native of Vermont, was about twenty-eight 
years of age, had no family except brothers and sisters, to whom he 
sent his photograph with letters of condolence. His last words were, 
"May God have mercy upon me and receive my spirit." 

A Trip to Washington 

On the 23d of December it was decided that I should go to Wash- 
ington with two or three smugglers. At my request Louis Rowe was 
detailed to go with me. The trip proved a memorable one. Our 
passes extended till the 28th. We arrived at Washington about 5 p. m. 
and at once turned our prisoners over to the provost marshal. We 
then proceeded to the rooms of the N. H. Soldiers' Aid Society, where 
I met that distinguished nurse, Miss Harriet Dame, and her associate, 
Miss Swain. Miss Dame had recently been in Beaufort, S. C, where 
my brother Abbott was on duty as hospital steward, and had met him, 
which fact added much to the pleasure of my visit. That evening we 
attended a concert at the 13th Street Baptist church and then took 
lodging at the New York Hotel on 7th Street. 

While there we visited the Smithsonian Institute, and inspected 
the personal effects of General Washington on exhibition at the Patent 
office. On Christmas day we went to Mt. Pleasant hospital and visited 
some of our comrades, who were there by reason of wounds received 
at Chancellorsville and other battles. As it was Christmas the boys 
there enjoyed a turkey dinner, of which we partook. 

That evening we visited Ford's theatre. The play of the evening 
was "The Drunkard," and one of the leading characters was J. Wilkes 
Booth, who later in this same theatre assassinated President Lincoln. 

The next morning we took passage on a boat, not ironed, 
for our return to Point Lookout. The cold weather of the two or 
three days previous had formed ice on the Potomac to the thickness of 
two or three inches, but the captain thought he could go through this 
all right and started. About the middle of the forenoon Louis Rowe 
and I were with the captain on the upper deck amusing ourselves shoot- 
ing ducks, of which there were very many on the ice, when the captain 
was informed that the hold was filling with water. The ice had cut 
through the sheathing and woodwork of the bow, and the water was 
flowing in so freely that the boat was at once headed for the shore, a 
mile or two distant. The pumps were kept at work, but just as her 
bow struck the shore she went down, with the water on the level with 
the upper deck. Here we remained for some hours, with the signal 
of distress flying, when the John A. Warner of Baltimore came along 


and took us off and carried us back to Washington. There we re- 
mained till Sunday morning, when we again started for the Point on 
another boat. We had proceeded but a few miles when the fog be- 
came very dense. We ran very slowly, but came near running into a 
gun boat anchored in the stream, and the John Brooks, having Presi- 
dent Lincoln and some of his cabinet on board, came near running into 
as. The President was on his way back to Washington from Fortress 
Monroe. As it was considered unsafe to run longer, the boat anchored 
and there remained till 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Then the fog 
lifted, and we proceeded on our way till 7, when darkness prevented 
our proceeding further. Later the moon afforded sufficient light to 
enable the boat to again start, and we proceeded, arriving at the Point 
about 9 o'clock Tuesday morning. 

On our passage up the river we met the Russian fleet on its way 
from Washington. The presence of this fleet in American waters at 
this time attracted world wide attention, for it occurred when interven- 
tion by England was greatly feared, and this action was considered as 
a notice to England to keep her hands off. 

During our absence from the Point, the president and some of his 
cabinet, on their return from a visit to Fortress Monroe, and General 
Butler and his staff had visited the Point. The troops stationed here 
made a part of the 18th Army Corp commanded by Butler. 

A day or two before the new year dawned, about two hundred re- 
cruits arrived for the 12th Regiment. This raised the number to eight 
hundred, and entitled the regiment to second lieutenants. During the 
last year all of the old second lieutenants had been promoted or mus- 
tered out by death or discharge. 

On the 3d of January, 1864, I was sent to Baltimore to arrest a 
German by the name of Seigel. This man had been a refugee or sup- 
posed blockade runner under arrest at the Point, and Capt. Patterson 
had allowed him to go to Baltimore on his parole, and he had not re- 
turned. I went on the steamer, Wheldon and found my man at his 
home but too sick to travel. I reported the facts to the office of the 
provost marshal in that city and was given papers to take back with 
me. I then took quarters at the Fountain house, spent a day looking 
about the city, and returned to the Point. 

Before going to Baltimore, I went up to the regiment, and the fill- 
ing of the vacancies was a natural topic of conversation. 

Lon Jewett, who went out as sergeant, had been recommended for 
a first lieutenancy the first of December, but his commission had not 
then arrived, and he was still first sergeant. Next in rank was Sergt. 
Hall, Sergt. Swain, and then came my name. At this time Lon Jewett 
told me that he had had a conversation with Capt. Langley, the com- 
manding officer of the regiment, a few days ago and was informed 


by him that he was going to recommend me from Co. D for a second 
lieutenant's commission. He thought he should ignore the rank of 
one sergeant above me on the ground that he had allowed himself 
unnecessarily to have been taken prisoner at Chancellorsville, and that 
he went home from Camp Parole, Baltimore, in citizen's clothes without 
permission. But later Capt A. J. Huntoon, who commanded Co. D, 
urged this sergeant's appointment from the fact that he went out as 
first sergeant and I only as fifth corporal, and that he would now give 
me the first sergeant's position. This reasoning had its weight, and 
my name was not sent in. Capt. Huntoon then offered me the posi- 
tion of first sergeant and I accepted, because it was in the line of pro- 
motion. I continued on duty at headquarters till the readjustment 
could take place. 

On the 12th of January, General Marston made a raid into Vir- 
ginia. He took with him two hundred infantry and three hundred 
cavalry. Two or three gun boats accompanied them and furnished 
transportation for a part of the party. He returned on the 15th, bring- 
ing back a rebel major, a captain, a lieutenant, and four privates, whom 
they captured at their homes on furloughs. They also brought back 
about fifty horses and mules for the government, while the boys 
brought over for their own use a lot of poultry and one or two live pigs. 
The only casualty was one man accidently killed by one of the party. 

The same day a squad of cavalry, which had been scouring the 
country north of us, brought in five deserters, four alive and one dead. 
The latter had been shot by one of the guard on some pretext which 
may have been thought sufficient by the authorities, but the surviving 
four pronounced it a cold blooded murder. Such incidents as these 
only go to show the little value placed on human life by men hardened 
by the scenes of war. 

About this time a corporal and four men on guard at the wharf, 
took a boat they were guarding, and deserted The night was bitterly 
cold, but they touched at some point after leaving Point Lookout and 
engaged a citizen to pilot them across the bay to the east. There they 
also secured another boat and proceeded, three in each. The next day 
a tug, or boat, from the lightship stationed at Smith's Point, brought 
back to Point Lookout one of the deserters and the citizen He stated 
that the boat was seen adrift during the night and a boat was sent to 
their rescue One of the three lay dead in the boat, and the others 
were too chilled to ply the oars. The other boat was seen bottom up 
and all its occupants were supposed to have been drowned. 

It was one of the duties of Lieut. Bean, my immediate superior, 
each evening to go out into Chesapeake bay on a small steam-boat to 
intercept the mail boats that plied between Baltimore and Fortress 
Monroe, and between Fortress Monroe and Baltimore, and take on 


board the mail and passengers for the Point, and examine the passes of 
the passengers, for no one could travel in that country at that time with- 
out a pass. Owing to the absence of Lieut. Bean and other reasons, 
this duty now fell on my shoulders most of the time, in addition to my 
other duties, and, as it was sometimes 2 o'clock in the morning before 
we returned, my duties were quite arduous at this time. 

About this time William A. Berry visited the Point on his way to 
Warrington, Va., to secure the remains of his brother-in-law, Comrade 
Pratt, whose death at that place has been noted here. Dr. H. B. Fowler 
accompanied him from Point Lookout. About this time we had as a 
guest Rev. Geo. N. Bryant, pastor of the Methodist church at Bristol, 
who spent a few days with us and preached one Sunday in the regi- 
mental chapel. 

January 27, I received an order to report to the adjutant general, 
Capt. Lawrence, at brigade headquarters. I was then told that Gen. 
Butler was considering the organization of a regiment from among the 
rebel prisoners, who had taken the oath of allegiance, and enlisted into 
the United States service, and offered me a commission in that regiment. 
I thanked him and retired and continued my usual duties till February 
6, when Lon Jewett and Sergt. Hall got their commissions, and I was 
relieved from duty at brigade headquarters and reported to my com- 
pany and was made orderly sergeant. 

Before the arrival of the new recruits a case of punishment of one 
of the men was very rare. Now it was a common occurrence and va- 
rious ways were devised. The culprit was required to do extra 
work, to parade the grounds with a placard on his back stating his 
offense, to carry a load a long time, etc. February 13, William Wilson 
of my company got drunk while on guard, and he was made to sit on 
the ridgepole of a tent all the afternoon, bearing a placard, which read, 
"I got drunk on guard." 

Sunday morning, February 21, a salute for a major general an- 
nounced the arrival of General Butler and staff, and then came an 
order to prepare for review. For a few minutes all was bustle and 
activity, when the several regiments fell into line and General Butler 
reviewed the brigade. 

At another time an alarm called all the troops into line. "Load 
at will," was a command given. In response to this command, one of 
the recruits, said to be a Catholic priest, being unable to get a Minie 
ball into his musket without removing the paper, put it into his pocket. 
I detected the movement and caused the ball to be placed in its proper 


Furloughs for Home 

As the time for the annual election in New Hampshire drew near, 
the boys became intensely interested in rumors to the effect that fur- 
loughs would be granted to some of the men to go home to vote. A 
little later this was announced as a fact, and I was one of the fortunate 
ones. Those from Cos. C and D were Sergts. Chas. Brown and U. H. 
Kidder, Corps. Louis Rowe, Albert Nelson, Hiram Ferrin, Chas. Drown, 
and John Bickford, and Privates Geo. C. Currier, A. V. Perry, and 
Robert Martin. None but Republicans were selected, and this fact 
was the cause, naturally, of deep-seated dissatisfaction, especially as 
some selected had but recently returned from New Hampshire, and 
some Democrats, as good soldiers as there were in the company, had 
not had a furlough since entering the service. But these men had been 
in the service long enough to know that open complaint would do no 
good, so they suppressed their indignation. 

On the morning of February 23, the steamer "Admiral Dupont," 
which was to convey us to Boston, cast anchor in the stream, and we 
received orders to be ready to embark at 5 o'clock that afternoon with 
five days' rations. At 5 o'clock the time was changed to 10 o'clock. 

At that time we went to the boat, waited an hour and then were 
ordered back to camp and told to be ready at 6:30 next morning. At 
that hour we again marched to the boat, when we were told to return 
to camp and be ready to embark at any time. As our furloughs ex- 
pired March 15, every hour's delay meant just so much less time in 
New Hampshire, and we were impatient to be off. 

That night, while the furloughed men were waiting for orders to 
take the boat, they naturally paid no attention to the "retreat" or "taps" 
as they sounded, and though the poor fellows doomed to remain in 
camp sought their bunks, the thought of their wrongs and the noise of 
the waiting men prevented sleep and put them in ill humor. There 
were in my company two brothers, one a Republican and the other 
a Democrat, consequently one was among the furloughed men and 
the other was not. That night politics was discussed, and the latter, 
failing to hold his own with his Republican brother, expressed himself 
thus: '"Well! my father was a Democrat and so I am a Democrat," 
to which his brother promptly retorted, "Well! I wouldn't be a damn 
fool just because my father was." This raised a laugh and closed the 

Finally, at 1 o'clock p. m., on the 24th, we boarded the vessel, and 
she moved into Chesapeake bay. There were about four hundred sol- 
diers aboard from the 12th, 5th, and 2d Regiments. In her normal 
condition the boat was not intended to carry one fourth this number, 


but tiers of bunks had been put up in the hold, so that each had a place 
to lie down, if he did not wish to stand on deck. 

The afternoon was fine, and we enjoyed the ride down the bay. 
We arrived at Fortress Monroe at 8 p. m., where we passed the night. 
As we r.eared the fortress a sad accident happened. Our vessel ran 
so close to a schooner at anchor that the bowsprit of the schooner car- 
ried away a part of the wheel house, the railing on deck, and a boat 
hanging by its davits over the side of our boat. In the boat were four 
soldiers who were plunged into the water and one was drowned. Louis 
Rowe and I had selected this boat as a place to spend the night, but 
these men had taken possession while we had gone for our knapsacks. 

At 10 o'clock the next day, we resumed our voyage for Boston, 
and the day passed without any noteworthy incident. Saturday, the 
25th, was stormy or very windy, and the sea was very rough All the 
hatchways were closed, and the large number of men in the holds soon 
rendered the air very impure, and nearly all the men were sick, and 
some seemed not to care whether they lived or died. If they had any 
preference, it was to die. Never before or since have I seen men so 
totally indifferent to all decency as these. Though the waves swept 
the upper deck, I made frequent visits to that side of the deck protected 
by the pilot house, and obtained enough fresh air to keep myself in my 
normal condition, and I was not seasick at all 

On the evening of Saturday, the 27th, we arrived in Boston and at 
midnight disembarked and were quartered at the Soldiers' Retreat on 
Beach street. At 10 o'clock Sunday morning we took a special train 
for Concord, where we arrived at 1 o'clock. 

We were met at the station at Concord by the militia of the city, 
a band of music, and a large concourse of people, and were escorted to 
the city hall. At that place our party was divided and sent to the va- 
rious hotels, where we were entertained till we could take the train for 
home the next day. 

Sunday evening an entertainment was given in our honor in Phenix 
hall., Music was furnished by the band, and the combined choirs of 
the city were led by Prof. Benj. B. Davis. Patriotic speeches were 
made by local talent and some of the officers of our detachments. 

Not till 3 o'clock on the afternoon of Monday did a train leave 
Concord for Bristol, and we arrived home at 5 p. m. There was no 
telegraph nor telephone line to Bristol in those days, and our coming 
at that early date was not announced by wire, and our arrival was 
therefore something of a surprise. 

Our stay at home was one round of pleasure. We were lionized 
to some extent, and every evening was passed at parties, attending meet- 
ings and other gatherings, in receiving guests or making calls. One 


evening my father's home was filled with visitors, about thirty being pre- 
sent, and one evening an oyster supper was given us at the town hall at 
which 350 were present. 

Election Day 

The second Tuesday of the month was election day. There were 
a few rightly called copperheads there, who did not disguise their dis- 
pleasure at our presence. Such were watched for a sufficient cause for a 
demonstration, but the meeting passed without an open rupture. 

Meeting adjourned early in the afternoon and the voters repaired 
to Central square, where many of them lingered for gossip. It seemed 
that Dan Hight, of the class named above, who lived on Pleasant street, 
had secreted in his home a Republican voter by the name of Pike, whose 
home was in New Hampton. Evidently thinking it was then so late 
that he could release his captive in safety, Hight drove through the vil- 
lage with Pike, going down Central street to New Hampton. Some one 
suggested that Pike might yet be got to New Hampton town house in 
season to vote, if he could be got away from Hight. Joseph P. Fellows 
of Co. C and I at once volunteered to undertake this job. A team was 
hastily hitched up for us at the stable and we overtook the trio on the 
New Hampton side of the river. Driving alongside of Height's sleigh 
we told Pike to get into our sleigh. It did not seem to make any dif- 
ference to Pike where he went, but Hight at once showed fight and said, 
"No, he don't," to which Joe replied, "Yes, he does." We made the 
transfer, paying no attention to the hard words Hight rained on us, or 
the savage blows he struck the air, and we returned to the village with 
our capture and from there started for New Hampton, followed by half 
a dozen teams, filled with interested spectators. Half way there our 
sleigh was wrecked on a sand bar, but we transferred our prize to the 
next team in our rear and proceeded. We arrived at the town house a 
half hour before the adjournment of the town meeting, but only to find 
that Pike's name was not on the checklist. Hight followed us back to 
Bristol village, after losing his man, and there was greeted with rounds 
of ridicule as he passed through Central square, to which he replied with 
a volley of high sounding words and pantomime that were evidently in- 
tended to deter the bravest from approaching him. 

Monday morning following town meeting I left Bristol on my re- 
turn to the army. On the way I passed a day or two at Cohoes, N. Y., 
where my brother William resided, and reached Baltimore the next 
Saturday. At Baltimore I met a lot of the boys on their way back to 
Point Lookout, and about forty of us took passage on the steamer 
Adelaide, which was running between Baltimore and Fortress Monroe. 


On this boat an incident happened that has always afforded me 
some satisfaction, whether it was right or wrong. On boarding the 
boat our party went into the cabin, supposing we were entitled to the 
same privileges as civilians inasmuch as we paid, or were expected to 
pay, full fare for our passage, but we were sternly ordered out, being 
told that enlisted men were not allowed in the cabin and that there was 
a fire in the hold. The air in the hold was unfit for a human being to 
breathe, and so we remained on deck. The men were indignant and some 
were for taking possession of the cabin and holding it, but wiser counsel 
prevailed and we concluded, notwithstanding we were several times told 
to call at the office and pay our fare, that we would not pay fare till we 
were obliged to. Towards midnight when we were opposite Point 
Lookout, a boat from there came alongside to transfer the passengers 
for that place. Officers stood on both sides the gangway crying 
"Tickets, tickets," but the moment the gang plank reached from one 
deck to the other we all made a rush and landed on the other boat. 
This boat had a large number of soldiers on board that had just been 
taken in a similar manner from the boat going from Fortress Monroe 
to Baltimore, and we at once disappeared among them and none of us 
were found, and the boat at once proceeded on her way. This pro- 
cedure netted the boat a loss of about $125. 

On Monday and Tuesday, Mar. 21 and 22, there was a heavy fall of 
snow for Maryland, a cold wind blew and it was pitiful weather for 
those on guard, and especially for those in the prison pen. Wednesday 
the sun shown warm and softened the snow, making it in just such con- 
dition as tempts the boys of New Hampshire to throw snowballs. The 
soldiers were, many of them, boys still, and some of our boys com- 
menced to throw snowballs into the camp of the 2d Regiment. These 
were returned, and a pitched snowball battle was soon on between the 
two regiments, in which nearly every man in both organizations joined. 
Charges and countercharges were made, and at one time the boys of the 
12th held possession of the grounds of the Second, including headquar- 
ters. Finally some of the thoughtless commenced to throw brickbats, 
and feelings were ruffled on both sides, when Maj. Langley, fearing 
more serious results, had the recall sounded and the boys of the 12th 
retired to their quarters. 

On the sixth of April, 1864, Gen. Marston was relieved by Gen. 
Hinks, and ordered to report at Norfork, or in that vicinity, and the next 
day the 2d Regiment followed him. On the 10th, the 12th got orders to 
be ready to move at short notice, and that day, the Sabbath, was spent 
in packing up, though services were held for the last time there in the 
evening. Our stay at Point Lookout on the whole had been so pleasant 
and comfortable that we left with many of the feelings with which we 
left Concord for the seat of war, only we realized more clearly what 


was probably before us, for we knew better what an active campaign 
meant. The little trinkets and conveniences that had accumulated dur- 
ing our stay there were thrown one side as of no further value to us, 
and some thoughtless ones made a bonfire of them. Others gave them 
to the soldiers of the colored regiment, who had relieved the Second 
N. H. Vols. 



On the 11th, early, orders came for the 12th Regt. to be ready to 
march at 9 o'clock. While waiting for the order to fall in, I was sur- 
prised to receive an order to report to Col. C. A. R. Dimond at regi- 
mental headquarters. Col. Dimond was to command a regiment that 
was to be organized of the "Galvanized Yankees," as the prisoners of 
war who had taken the oath of allegiance and enlisted into our service 
were called, and he wanted to meet the men who had been selected for 
commissions in that regiment. After a short interview he informed 
me that he should forward my papers for approval and I would prob- 
ably hear from them soon. So long a time had passed since Capt. 
Lawrence had spoken to me on the subject, I had about come to the 
conclusion that I was to hear nothing more from it. 

At noon of that day we boarded the steamer, Thomas A. Morgan, 
in waiting, and moved down the bay, soon passing a regiment of blacks 
going to the Point to take our places. The day was fine; on the water 
were a marvelous number of ducks, which excited our wonder and 
admiration, and drew from the boys a few stray shots, though against 
orders. At 8 o'clock in the evening we reached Yorktown, and at 2 the 
next morning disembarked, and found the 2d Regt. there. 

After making coffee and partaking of breakfast in the early morn- 
ing, we marched to Williamsburg. Here the 12th and 2d N. H. Vols., 
the 148th New York Vols, and 11th Conn. Vols, were formed into the 2d 
Brigade, of the 2d Division of the 18th Army Corps. Gen. Wistar 
was to command; Gen. Weitzel the division and Gen. Smith the corps. 
This corps constituted a part of Gen. Butler's forces, termed the army 
of the James. 

The march of twelve miles from Yorktown was rather enjoyed by 
me, though I carried a load of about fifty pounds. The road was good 
and we were traveling over historic ground, where great deeds were 
enacted during the Revolutionary war and the early days of the present 
war, and these thoughts occupied my mind and saved me from natural 
fatigue. We went into camp on a part of the battlefield of Williams- 
burg, where a year before Hooker and Kearny fought a much larger 
number of rebel troops. 


Our camp was laid out as with a view to permanency, and tents 
were issued which did not look like the opening of a field campaign. 
Perhaps this was to deceive the enemy. Daily drills were instituted for 
the benefit of the new men in the ranks, which did not tend to increase 
the love of the veterans for the new comers. Indeed the original mate- 
rial of the regiment looked with disdain on the new, and there was but 
little in common between them. The original men of the 12th were the 
sturdy, hardworking yeomen of New Hampshire, who had enlisted to 
fight for the preservation of their country; the new comers had no 
country and no principle to fight for. They were the offscouring of 
the earth. They enlisted for money and sought the first opportunity to 
desert. Since leaving Point Lookout desertions had largely increased. 
It was reported that a hundred of these men had deserted in three days 
from our brigade. 

It was evident that something must be done to check this exodus. 
Accordingly, James Scott, a native of Scotland, twenty-two years old, 
and Owen McDonald, a native of England, aged twenty-nine years, both 
members of the 2d Regt. were tried by general court martial, were sen- 
tenced to be shot for desertion and were executed Apr. 29 at Williams- 

The scenes of that day are still vivid in my recollection. The 
troops of the brigade were drawn up in line on three sides of a hollow 
square. On the fourth side, where the execution was to take place two 
graves had been dug. Soon after the line had been formed, the funeral 
procession entered the square on the open side, marching to the music 
of the muffled drums. In the rear of the drum corps was driven an 
army wagon in which were two coffins; next walked, with apparent in- 
difference, the two condemned men, followed by a guard, the chaplain 
and other officials. This procession marched close in front of the sol- 
diers in line that all might see. The duty of one officer was to select the 
firing party as the procession moved along. When opposite, this officer 
approached our company for a man. All shrunk back at the thought 
of such a duty, but he laid his hand on the shoulder of Frank Marshall 
of Hill, who stood next to me, and Frank became one of the execu- 
tioners. In this way twelve men were selected. Arriving at the open 
graves, the coffins were placed on the ground and the condemned men 
were seated each on his own coffin; the muskets of the firing party 
were taken from them and eleven were loaded with ball cartridges by 
others than those who fired them, one being left blank so that no one 
would know whether he used a ball cartridge or not. They were then 
passed back to the men, the death warrant was read; the chaplain, Rev. 
J. W. Adams, who was long a member of the N. H. Conference, offered 
prayer; the eyes of the condemned men were bandaged; at a given 
sign the firing party took aim; at another it fired, and the lifeless bodies 


of both men fell backward on the coffins, pierced by a half dozen balls. 
The execution over, the troops composing the three sides of the square 
faced to the right and marched past the lifeless forms of the two men, 
who had suffered the extreme penalty of the law. 

Williamsburg was a place of much interest. On every hand were 
the marks of the battle a year previous, which interested the majority. 
Here, too, was one of the earliest settlements of the country, and this 
city was for seventy-five years the capital of Virginia, and here was 
William and Mary's college, the oldest, next to Harvard, in the country. 
But little of its former self, and none of its former greatness, remained. 

April 27, I received notice of an appointment as 1st lieutenant in 
the 1st Regt., U. S. Vol., Infantry. Sergt. John P. Eaton of Co. B 
also received an appointment as first lieutenant, Corp. Samuel B. Noyes 
of Co. I, a former fellow student at Tilton, and Sergt. Horace I. Hutch- 
ins of Co. I, received appointments as 2d lieutenants in the same regi- 
ment. I did not expect or desire anything above a second lieutenancy 
because it carried with it more responsibility. It might as well have 
been a captain's appointment, however, as I performed almost from 
the first the work and duties of a captain, as the facts will show later. 
I turned in my gun and equipments, awaiting further orders, and was 
succeeded as first sergeant by one who had come out as sergeant. Sam 
had skulked at Chancellorsville, but now it was thought best to pro- 
mote him and give him an opportunity to redeem himself, but if the 
spirit was willing the flesh was weak, for just eight days after his 
promotion, the brigade commander cut off his shevrons in line of battle 
on account of cowardice, thus reducing him to the ranks. 

It has been claimed by some of his comrades that this was an in- 
justice; that the fellow was really sick, and that he was justified in lying 
down, the position in which he was found by the brigade commander. 

The next day, after receiving my appointment, I received a letter 
from my brother Abbott of the 115 N. Y. Vols. The last I had heard 
from him he was acting hospital steward at Beaufort, S. C, now he 
was with his regiment at Gloucester Point, opposite Yorktown, Va. 
Ordinarily a pass to leave one's regiment on the eve of an important 
movement was well nigh impossible to obtain, but, as I was awaiting 
orders, I resolved to try to secure a pass to visit my brother. I wrote 
the pass stating facts, got it signed by the regimental commander, and 
then carried it to General Wistar, in command of the brigade, who 
granted my request without hesitation. I started for Gloucester Point 
at 2 p. m. and reached there at 5 o'clock, and readily found the camp 
of the 115th N. Y. Vols. A half hour later my brother came in from 
inspection. At first he did not know me, and supposed I was still at 
Point Lookout. The next day in the afternoon, after a pleasant visit, 
I returned to my regiment. On my way back I listened to a part of a 


sermon by the chaplain of a colored regiment. Later I learned that 
I had listened to Rev. R. M. Manly, who was principal of the Seminary 
at Tilton when I left there. 

The scenes about Yorktown betokened a movement of large pro- 
portions in some direction. Butler was then preparing for his advance 
up the James River to Petersburg, from which point he was to enter 
Richmond by the back door, while Grant was fighting Lee north of 
Richmond. Butler's plans were well laid, but he had neither the cel- 
erity of execution to enable him to carry out this scheme nor the 
co-operation of his Corps commander, and therefore failed. 

At this time at Yorktown there was great activity on every hand. 
A large number of troops were in camp making preparation for the 
move or being inspected as to their readiness for action. The waters 
at the mouth of the James were covered with crafts of many kinds — 
transports landing troops from distant points, or landing vast quantities 
of supplies for the coming campaign, and then dropping anchor in the 
stream or in the offing, waiting to transport troops in the movement up 
the river. The transports were all headed up the bay as though Butler 
thought to deceive the enemy as to his real intentions. At Williams- 
burg was returned to the regiment under arrest, an old offender — Jed 
Hubbard — the same who had deserted at Fredericksburg after having 
borrowed the boots of a comrade to go in search of wood as previously 
described. He had just got back with the boots. Through the loss 
of records and other causes he escaped punishment and continued to 
build up a reputation as the most worthless man in the regiment. 

On Wednesday, May 4, the 12th Regiment moved from its camp 
at Williamsburg, leaving behind its A tents and taking shelter tents 
instead. We marched a couple of miles towards Yorktown, past Fort 
Magruder to General Wistar's headquarters, and there we halted till 
dark. We then resumed our march through the woods to Grove Land- 
ing on the James. Arriving there we were commanded not to make a 
noise or build a fire, just as though the enemy did not know we were 
there. Such an order was ridiculed by all the men, but had to be 
obeyed all the same, so, instead of making coffee and warming our- 
selves by a fire, we shivered in the cold for an hour or two and then 
the brigade, late at night, embarked on four transports in waiting, and 
on these we passed the remainder of the night in great discomfort, as 
the weather was cold and we were so crowded that few could lie down. 

About 8 o'clock the next morning, other transports, loaded with 
troops, put in an appearance, convoyed by gunboats. They steamed 
past us and soon the river up stream and down for miles was covered 
with transports crowded with a mass of humanity. It was one of the 
most imposing sights I witnessed during the war. Hour after hour 
they continued to pass, until finally our own transport, the Ocean Wave, 


swung into line and we, too, moved up the river. We passed Harri- 
son's Landing and the house where McClellan made his headquarters 
at one time, passed City Point, where many of the troops were landing, 
and just before dark we landed at a place we later ascertained to be 
Bermuda Hundred. 

Soon after landing I met Lieut. John F. Fullerton, who had lately 
been commissioned a lieutenant in the 1st U. S. Vols. He was a mem- 
ber of Co. C, 12th Regt , from New Hampton, and was a clerk at Gen- 
eral Marston's headquarters at Point Lookout. Now as lieutenant he 
was serving on General Marston's staff. I also met Capt. Lawrence, 
A. A. A. G., on General Marston's staff, and they said we should re- 
port to Fortress Monroe on our appointments for further orders. 

To this the major, commanding the 12th regiment, assented, and 
the next morning we bade adieu to our comrades of the 12th with keen 
regrets, just as they were falling in at dawn for an advance movement 
towards Petersburg. I thought the comrades reciprocated my feelings, 
and no doubt they did. The sharing of privations and dangers in com- 
mon for nearly two years had cemented the bonds of friendship and 
made us all as brothers. Sam, who succeeded me as 1st Sergeant, 
evidently thought I was escaping many dangers ahead, and his ex- 
pression was, "Well, Dick, you are a d lucky fellow." 

Here my connection with the 12th regiment ceased, but the reader 
has doubtless become as much interested in the history of this regiment 
in reading these reminiscences, as in the writer, and so I will follow it 
briefly till the close of the war and then resume my personal experiences 
in another organization. 

Butler had evidently surprised the enemy in landing in force at Ber- 
muda Hundred, and had he followed up his advantage by a rapid move- 
ment on Petersburg he might have entered Richmond as originally in- 
tended by "the back door," but he was not equal to the occasion, and 
before he was ready to enter Petersburg the enemy were there in force 
and he was shut out. 

The next morning, after reaching Bermuda Hundred, the reveille 
sounded at 3 o'clock, and we fell in. It was while the regiment was 
in line, waiting for orders to move, that I got my orders to report to 
Fortress Monroe, so I fell out and bade the boys good-bye, as before 
stated. At six o'clock the regiment moved toward Chester Station on 
the Petersburg and Richmond railroad, and, after marching about four 
miles, a portion of the 12th regiment was thrown out as skirmishers 
and the remainder of the regiment formed in line of battle with the 
balance of Wistar's brigade, and were held as a reserve. There was 
no general engagement, the firing being confined to the picket line, and 
the enemy fell back. 


The next day occurred a slight engagement known as the battle of 
Bermuda Hundred, but the 12th was not actively engaged. Another 
day passed, and Butler moved forward by slow stages, but all this 
time the enemy was rushing troops to Butler's front, and by the time 
Butler was ready to enter the back door it had been closed. 

About that time, occurred the battle of Swift Creek, one of the 
minor battles of the war, and the loss of the 12th Regiment was trifling. 
It was just before this battle commenced that George E. Clark of Co. E, 
well known in Bristol, lost a leg and an arm. He, with his comrades, 
was awaiting orders to fall in and was seated on the ground, his right 
hand resting on his right knee, when a shell exploded over his head. 
A piece of this shell cut off his right hand at the wrist so completely 
that only a little skin remained, and then went through his leg and 
shattered the bone so completely that the right leg was amputated 
above the knee. Of the entire group he was the only one injured. 
This battle occurred about two miles from Petersburg. Butler had 
twenty thousand men with which to force his way to that city, more 
than enough to have overcome all the troops that the enemy had gath- 
ered to oppose him at that time. During these days the men suffered 
intensely from the extreme heat. 

On the 12th, the army started again at 3 a. m., in search of the 
enemy, and this time towards Richmond. Now it was rain and mud, 
instead of sun, heat and dust. The enemy was soon found, but in 
small force, and retreated as our army advanced. This continued about 
four miles till Proctor's Creek was reached. Here night stopped the 
advance and the pickets of the two armies were almost within speaking 
distance from each other. 

The men rested on their arms that night, but there was but little 
sleep. During the day the thermometer had dropped rapidly and in- 
tense heat had given way to cold, and then, to add to the discomfort, 
rain fell all night, chilling the men through. No fire was allowed for 
that would draw the fire of the enemy. 

The next day the enemy continued to fall back as they were pressed 
by our troops, but fighting all the way till the Relay House was reached. 
This house was on the turnpike about half way between Richmond and 
Petersburg and about the same distance from Bermuda Hundred. Here 
the boys were revived by the cheering news that Grant had captured 
six thousand prisoners with forty guns. 

On the 14th, occurred the battle of the Relay House, which ended 
in the capture of a fort by the Union Army. Here the 12th Regiment 
lost one man killed, one mortally wounded, and several seriously 

Two days later occurred the battle of Drury's Bluff. The enemy's 
defences after the fight at the Relay House were abandoned by General 


Beauregard, and he retreated, slowly and cautiously, followed by the 
Union troops. As the scene of the battle was reached, the 12th Regi- 
ment came in sight of an earth-work, a fort, of the enemy. The guns 
within the works were busy in checking the advance of the Union 
troops from another direction and did not notice the advance of the 
12th. This was taken advantage of by the 12th, and the boys made a 
rapid approach till a clearing was reached. Then their presence was 
discovered, and two howitzers opened fire upon them with shell and 
shrapnel. Fortunately the gunners of the enemy, in the excitement of 
the moment, miscalculated the distance of the assaulting party and shot 
over their heads. Shot after shot was fired with the same result, the 
12th boys pressing on and the gunners lowering their pieces, each time 
coming nearer and nearer the heads of the advancing party. Finally 
one shell exploded in Company G, and nine men suddenly ceased their 
advance and lay upon the ground, one dead. The regiment advanced, 
but before the works were reached the enemy evacuated their position 
and took refuge in another earthwork, or fort, called Fort Stevens, and 
continued the fight. Our artillery concentrated its fire upon this fort, 
and in the engagement that followed, the colors of the enemy were 
twice shot away. 

On the afternoon of this day occurred an incident that might have 
been of far-reaching result, had our boys known the facts at the time. 
Jefferson Davis, the president of the so-called Southern Confederacy, 
had left Richmond that day for a conference with Beauregard. Not 
knowing that the southern troops had fallen back so far, he came near 
riding into the Union lines. Had his presence been known, our troops 
could easily have swung round and captured him before he had time 
to retire. 

While the Union troops occupied this advanced position, the wires 
of the telegraph line between Petersburg and Richmond were put to 
good use as an impediment in a later assault made by the enemy on 
our line. Lieut. A. W. Bartlett, with a small detail of men, cut the 
wire from the poles and stretched it from stump to stump about a foot 
above the ground and hastily covered it with brush. Two lines of this 
wire were thus placed, and then our men lay partially protected behind 
logs and stones. They had not long to wait, for soon the expected 
assault of the enemy came. They advanced in good order till they 
struck the unseen wire, when scores went down and the line was thrown 
into confusion. Then the 12th opened fire upon them with great slaugh- 
ter, and the advance was checked in their immediate front. Unfortu- 
nately, there was nothing to protect the other portions of the Union 
line on the right and left, and the whole army was ordered to retreat. 
The 12th felt entirely able to hold its position and obeyed the order 
with great reluctance. 


Previous to the order to retreat, the battle raged extremely hot at 
the right of ground occupied by the 12th. A battery was made the 
especial mark of attack by the enemy, and sharp-shooters killed nearly 
all the horses and many of the men; and those left, including one or 
two officers, sought shelter in the rear. At this point Capt. Bedee of 
Co. G and Lieut. J. W. Saunders, of Co. C, with eight or ten men, took 
possession of the abandoned guns and worked them to good effect upon 
the enemy. For their part in this affair, Lieut. Saunders was compli- 
mented in general orders, while Capt. Bedee was ordered before Gen- 
eral Butler, where he met two of the officers of the battery who had 
entered a complaint to the general because of the vigorous language 
the captain had used at them because of their skulking. The captain 
admitted the charge, but explained the reason, upon which the general 
informed the officers of the battery that they could prefer charges 
against Capt. Bedee if they wished for not addressing them as their 
rank demanded. No charges were preferred. 

For five days, the 12th Regiment had been in the front line of battle 
and every day under fire and were consequently greatly exhausted. 
It lost two killed, twenty-nine wounded and three missing. At this 
time they were in sight of Richmond and only eight miles distant from 
that city. The enemy had evidently suffered heavily and did not at- 
tempt to follow up its advantages and the Union army had rest for a 
few days. The fact, however, that the Union army had failed in its 
advance movement had a very depressing effect upon the men, espec- 
ially as news came that Grant's advance north of Richmond had caused 
Lee to retreat across the North Anna river. The boys were willing to 
fight if they could only see their efforts well directed and successful as 
they should have been. 

On the 28th of May, 1864, the 18th Corps and two divisions of the 
10th Corps were detached from the army of the James and sent to re- 
enforce the Army of the Potomac. The troops marched to City Point 
on the James river and then embarked on transports for White House 
landing on the Pamunky river. The point of embarking was perhaps 
twenty miles south east of Richmond on the James; their destination 
was about the same distance northeast of Richmond, on the Pamunky, 
and a march of perhaps thirty miles from one point to the other would 
have covered the distance. But the territory between the two points 
was held by the enemy and so could not be crossed, so the transports 
made their way down the James river into Chesapeake bay, thence up 
the bay into the York river, thence into the Pamunky river to White 
House, a distance in all of about 150 miles. 

The troops arrived at White House about noon the next day. 
Here General Griffin A. Steadman, Jr., took command of the brigade 
in which was the 12th Regiment. Here the troops remained till the 


afternoon of the second day, awaiting the arrival of ammunition. They 
then took up the line of march and proceeded in haste till about 10 
o'clock, when it went into bivouac three miles from New Castle on the 
Pamunky river. The march was a hot and dusty one of about fifteen 
miles. The next morning a forced march of several miles was made, 
when a mistake in orders was discovered and the troops counter- 
marched to where they started from, and then commenced the march for 
Cold Harbor in the middle of the day, behind the 6th Corps, when 
the heat was intense and the dust almost unbearable. Many fell out 
and some died of exhaustion or sunstroke. 

At 4 o'clock in the afternoon, the 18th Corps reached Cold Harbor, 
and there joined the Army of the Potomac, and soon became engaged 
with the enemy. While the 12th stood awaiting orders to advance, 
twenty solid shot passed between its ranks and that of the 148th New 
York regiment without doing any execution, when the brigade includ- 
ing the 12th advanced and lay on their arms in the woods all night, 
ready to resist an expected attack. This continued during the following 
day, and night again settled down over the army of the Potomac — the 
last night on earth to many a brave man. 

Cold Harbor 

We now come to the terrible slaughter at Cold Harbor, where our 
boys were slain without any compensating advantage. No wonder 
General Grant says in his Memoirs, "I have always regretted that the 
last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made. No advantage whatever 
was gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained. Indeed 
the advantages other than those of relative losses were on the Confed- 
erate side." The hopelessness of the situation and the terrible loss sus- 
tained, with its attendant suffering, was another Fredericksburg, though 
on a smaller scale. The enemy was strongly entrenched in a semi- 
circle, one of the hardest positions possible to assail. If a mistake 
was made by the commander-in-chief in ordering the assault, another 
was made in the way in which the assault was made. The 12th Regi- 
ment led, massed in five lines of two companies each, and this forma- 
tion was persisted in against the emphatic protests of Col. Barker, the 
regimental commander. When too late the mistake in the formation 
was admitted. As the Union troops advanced, the enemy opened on 
them at close range with grape and canister and musketry, and in less 
than ten minutes nearly one-half of the advancing troops lay dead or 
wounded upon the field. The discharge was so sudden and so awful in 
its effects that whole platoons went down like grass before the scythe. 
Those unhurt heard no voice and saw so many of their comrades fall 
that they thought an order had been given to lie down. 


The battle had been brief but terrible, and, when it ceased, our 
dead and wounded lay within two hundred yards of the enemy's lines. 
Though the battle was over, there was no cessation of hostilities for 
five days, and during all this time no assistance was rendered those 
unable to crawl from the field, except such as was given at night, and 
then at the great risk of the rescuers. Each night determined men 
crawled upon the field and brought off such of their comrades as they 
could, but a form moving in the darkness or a noise made in the work 
of humanity was sure to draw the fire of the enemy. Many of the 
wounded were again wounded and some killed, as they lay exposed on 
the ground; and it was reported at the time, and generally believed, 
that the rebel soldiers amused themselves in firing at those still living, 
and even at the dead. There may have been instances of this kind, but 
on the whole the southern soldiers were as humane as the northern, 
and these cases were probably more apparent than real. It was sup- 
posed at the time that no efforts were made for a cessation of hostilities 
for the purpose of caring for the dead and wounded, but it is now 
known that General Grant entered into negotiations with General Lee 
two days after the battle, but that two days were consumed in the 
negotiations so that, till that hour, none were brought from the field 
or cared for, except such as are spoken of above. 

The tales of suffering endured by the heroes of the 12th Regiment 
on that field and the deeds of heroism performed by their comrades 
for their rescue would fill a book, and we must content ourselves with 
brief reference. 

As night came on, regardless of fatigue or want of sleep, many of 
the survivors of the 12th crept onto the field and sought to find among 
the prostrate forms those comrades yet alive. Such were cautioned 
to make no noise lest they would draw the fire of the enemy, and they 
were conveyed on blankets or stretchers to the rear, where they were 
tenderly cared for. Thus the work continued for three nights, till the 
living and many of the dead were removed. On the fourth night 
twenty-eight of the dead were removed and buried in one trench. 
Some died in being removed from the field, while a few, though fear- 
fully wounded, recovered sufficiently to return to their homes, while 
some are even yet alive. Among the latter is Col. Nat Shackford, 
who is still living at a good old age, vigorous and healthy. Another 
was William B. Welch of Co. E, who died of his wounds in Bristol 
nineteen years after the battle. 

A Sterling Soldier 

As brilliant as was the record of the 12th, none were more con- 
spicuous for cool, determined bravery than Comrade Welch. But few, 


if any, had a more terrible experience from wounds received, and none 
have suffered more intensely for nineteen years, as the result of their 
service, than he. From the first he became prominent for his ready 
obedience to his superiors, and the alacrity with which he responded to 
any duty, however hazardous. At Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, 
Gettysburg, Front Royal, Swift Creek, Drury's Bluff, and other engage- 
ments he escaped unscarred, but at the terrible slaughter at Cold 
Harbor, June 3, 1864, when charging the enemy's works, he fell within 
a few yards of the breastworks, with a terrible wound on the side of 
his head, and while lying insensible or unable to crawl away, he was 
riddled with balls, no less than six piercing his body. Here he lay 
for thirty-six long hours, exposed to the hot rays of a June sun, and 
when at last he was carried from the field he was considered so far 
gone that it was useless to dress his wounds, but in response to his 
earnest entreaties, he was placed in an ambulance and carried sixteen 
miles over rough roads to Surgeon Fowler's quarters, at White House 
Landing, where his wounds were tenderly dressed. Contrary to all 
expectations, after a few months in the hospital, he had so far recovered 
that he returned to duty, and remained on duty till mustered out with 
his regiment. But the terrible wounds he received at Cold Harbor un- 
dermined his health and were destined to do their work. During all 
these years he was a great sufferer. Indeed, few have had little 
idea of the intense suffering he endured. Those who knew him 
best sympathized with him most. At his funeral Surgeon H. B. Fowler, 
with a beautiful eulogy, said of him: "As a private, Comrade Welch 
was faultless — whether in bivouac or on the march, at dress parade 
or review; whether quiet in winter quarters or in the battle charge. 
When shot and shell fell like hail, never was it said that Comrade 
Welch showed the white feather. Seldom if ever at roll call was it 
said of him 'Excused by the surgeon,' until he received his terrible 
wounds in that fearful charge at Cold Harbor, when one half of his 
regiment fell in less than ten seconds. With what his comrades sup- 
posed wounds that were mortal, he managed to crawl for a distance 
into a clump of bushes and there lay as a target for the enemy until he 
received six wounds more. After the battle he was brought from the 
field and lay thirty-six hours without having his wounds dressed, the 
surgeons supposing he would live but a short time; at last he said, 
'If you won't dress my wounds, in God's name carry me to my sur- 
geon,' and after his wounds were partially dressed he was carried to 
White House Landing, sixteen miles, in an ambulance, and although 
the roads were rough and the ride tedious, not a groan was heard to 
escape his lips — always hopeful and looking on the bright side in every 

Among those who fell in this terrible struggle at Cold Harbor 


was my warm personal friend, Lieut. Joseph K. Whittier, of Laconia. 
We were students together at Tilton. While the 12th Regiment was 
encamped at Falmouth, early in the war, eight or ten of the former 
students at Tilton, from the 9th and 12th Regiments, held an im- 
promptu reunion in my tent. The conversation was largely about 
home, the school at Tilton, and the war. Joe was a natural orator, and 
he dearly loved to talk. Our company was reclining on the ground 
in my hut, or seated on hard-tack boxes, when Joe stood as nearly erect 
as the tent would allow and delivered himself substantially as follows: 
"Well, boys, I feel it in my bones that I am going to live to see this 
rebellion crushed. When I get home I am going to study law, and 
put out my shingle in some city and you will hear from me later." 
Such eloquence brought down the house and he was roundly applau- 
ded. We did hear from Joe later. He was promoted for gallantry 
on the field and died while leading his company in this assault. As 
in thousands of other cases, a brilliant life was given to his country. 
Another schoolmate at the reunion spoken of was Joseph P. Whittier 
of Gilford. He fell at Chancellorsville. 

On the 11th of June, 1864, after being for ten days in the front line 
of battle or in the trenches, the 12th Regiment was relieved and 
marched a short distance to the rear, and the next day took up the 
line of march for White House landing. There they embarked on two 
transports and returned to the Army of the James. They landed at 
Bermuda Hundred and Point of Rocks on the James, on the 15th, 
and soon after rejoined the 18th Corps, which was already in motion 
for Petersburg. This place had been nearly deserted by the Confed- 
erate troops to meet demands for help in more exposed positions near 
by, and so the 18th Corps was again moving for the capture of the 
city, but again it was too late, for before its arrival the city was again 
occupied by rebel troops, and so, instead of capturing the city by an 
assault, the siege of Petersburg began. 

Siege of Petersburg 

The siege of Petersburg, the last great act of the Civil war, ex- 
tended from the middle of June, 1864, till its evacuation the first of 
April, 1865. During all this time the experience of the survivors of 
the 12th Regiment, present for duty, was in common with the rest of 
the investing army, a tale of privations, of constant fighting in the 
trenches, and of wounds and death to many of the brave boys constitut- 
ing that heroic army. 

Immediately after its return to the Army of the James, the 12th 
Regiment became part of the investing forces and was under fire 
nearly all of the time it remained at the front. The lines of the two 


armies were but a short distance apart, and the approaches were slowly 
made, for every foot of the ground was stubbornly contested. From 
the rifle pits made when the siege commenced, a few Union soldiers 
would advance a short distance on a dark night, when perhaps the 
rain would be falling in torrents, and while lying on the ground, dig a 
hole with tin plates or other implements sufficiently deep during the 
night to conceal their bodies from the sharp shooters when daylight 
appeared. There they must remain during the following day. Their 
numbers would be increased the following night by others with pick 
and spade and thus the night work would be carried on till a contin- 
uous rifle pit was constructed. And here the boys lived day and night 
without protection from the burning sun or drenching rain, until by 
constant work, the trench was made deep enough and broad enough 
to permit a shelter of boughs to be constructed or a hole excavated 
called boom proofs, sufficiently large to shelter the boys. In spite of 
constant vigilance, men were killed or wounded every day by sharp 
shooters, who were constantly on the watch for a head or hand that 
might appear above the earth, if only for a moment. In time these 
new trenches were connected with the old by cross trenches, some- 
times covered, but reliefs to those in the outer works were always made 
at night. No man in the outer works, or in the works further to the 
rear, was safe for even a moment if within sight of the sharp shooters. 

Such life as this was varied frequently by sallies by the enemy, 
sometimes in great force, in an effort to break the Union line, and then 
came a fierce struggle to hold the line, attended with great loss on 
both sides. 

During the whole time of the siege, the batteries and siege guws 
were constantly pounding away at the works of the enemy. This was 
sometimes continued all night, and it was rare when the boys were not 
lulled to sleep, or disturbed during the night, with the roar of big guns 
from some part of the investing lines. And yet the great loss from 
shot and shells was less than that by disease. The constant exposure 
to all kinds of weather and the impossibility of observing even ordinary 
sanitary precautions, told fearfully on the health of the men, and large 
numbers were constantly being sent to the hospitals at the rear and 

By the middle of July the regiment was reduced to 115 guns. 

On the 24th of July, Chaplain Ambrose, while at the front attend- 
ing to the sick, was shot by a sharp shooter. He was carried to the 
rear and died, Aug. 19, at Fortress Monroe. Chaplain Ambrose was 
dearly beloved by the men of the regiment, because of his spotless 
Christian character and his devotion to the welfare of the men. He 
spared not himseli in his efforts to serve others. When he received 
his death wound, he was seeking to alleviate the sufferings of the sick 


at the front, and to do this he did not hesitate to expose himself to the 
fatal fire of the sharp shooters. 

The 30th of July was a memorable day, for then a rebel fort that 
had been mined for the Union forces was blown up. Lieut.-Col. 
Pleasants of the 48th Penn. Vols., who had had large experience in 
the mines of Pennsylvania, conceived the idea of mining one of the 
rebel forts, "Elliotts Salient," blowing it up, and, in the confusion re- 
sulting therefrom, to break and hold a portion of the enemy's line. 
This fort was located about three hundred feet from our front line. 

A tunnel was dug the 300 feet to the fort named, where a chamber 
was made, and in this were placed eight tons of powder. This was 
exploded while the enemy were evidently in blissful ignorance of any 
danger from this source. The explosion was a fearful one. The en- 
tire fort was hurled two or three hundred feet into the air, and there 
was left in its place a hole in the ground thirty feet deep, sixty feet 
wide and nearly one hundred long. The explosion was a great suc- 
cess. Of those occupying the fort but few were left alive, and all the 
Rebel troops in that vicinity were so paralyzed that for three hundred 
yards on either side their lines were deserted, and a half hour elapsed 
before they were rallied to make any resistance. And yet in spite of 
all this the grand opportunity of advancing and breaking the enemv's 
line was lost through the inefficiency of the Union general in charge 
of the assault. Delay in grasping an opportunity was fatal to suc- 
cess, and about the only result of this effort was the loss of thousands 
of brave men and the discouragement and depression of the whole 
army from its failure. 

This event made a deep impression on both armies, for both sides 
thought the ground under them was being honeycombed by mining 
operations of the enemy. As illustrating the nervousness of both 
armies, an incident that occurred Aug. 5th may be mentioned. A loud 
explosion was heard on the afternoon of that day, which was caused 
by the explosion of a Rebel magazine. Each side thought one of 
their forts had gone up, and rushed to arms, and lively cannonading 
ensued. The brigade in which was the 12th Regiment was at once 
ordered to the front amid a shower of shells, and many men were 
lost, including the brigade commander, General Steadman. One shell 
exploded between Col. Barker, the commander of the 12th, and Capt. 
Bedee, who stood within twenty feet of each other, but neither was 
injured. A similar excitement occurred on the 9th, caused by the ex- 
plosion of two barges at City Point loaded with ammunition. Many 
were killed or wounded. Every day brought excitement of some kind, 
and all nerves were constantly keyed to a high pitch. The next day, 
there was a terrific shelling from the works of the enemy in the imme- 
diate front of the 12th, and the regiment sprang to arms to repel an 


expected assault, when the shelling should cease. The assault did 
not come, and the 12th suffered no loss from the shelling, but that 
afternoon Geo. F. Sanborn of Co. G, was wounded by a sharp shooter. 

But a day of relief came at last for the few yet remaining in the 
ranks of the 12th Regiment. On the 25th of August, the regiment was 
withdrawn from the rifle pits before Petersburg and sent to Bermuda 
Front. Since the 15th of June the regiment had been in the trenches 
almost constantly under fire, and so their removal to a less exposed 
position, where some needed rest could be had, was joyously wel- 
comed by all. The march to their old camping ground on the north 
side of the Appomattox was a short one, but the day was excessively 
hot, and, weak from overwork as the boys were, they were completely 
worn out, so when a halt was called, they threw themselves on the 
ground to rest before any attempt was made to prepare a camp for 
their short stay there. At this time the rank and file numbered only 
about one hundred, and only a few of the commissioned officers re- 

After resting for two days, a camp was regularly laid out, for here 
the boys expected to remain. The quarters of the men were made of 
uniform size, ten feet long by four wide, and the walls, made of logs 
with the crevices filled with mud, were four feet high, on the tops of 
which were placed the shelter tents for roofs. In the rear of each on 
the outside was constructed a chimney, made of the same material as 
the walls. In each of these huts were comfortably quartered four 
men. Not content with making for themselves comfortable quarters 
inside, they graded and improved the company streets and the parade 
ground, and thus again established their old reputation of having the 
best and most comfortable quarters of any regiment of their corps. 

While the regiment was sent here primarily for rest, they relieved 
other troops which took their places at the front and had light duties 
each day to perform. They went regularly on picket, and were con- 
stantly on duty as guard on the river, which was the line between the 
two contending armies. 

The relations between the men of the two armies were most cor- 
dial, and the river and, indeed, both banks of the stream were neutral 
ground. The men bathed together and fraternized on both banks. 
These things were not allowed by the Confederate officers, but could 
not well be prevented. One day several of our boys were on the Con- 
federate side of the stream enjoying a game of cards with the Johnnies 
when a mounted Confederate officer suddenly appeared. Our boys had 
no time to escape and supposed they would be made prisoners, but 
some of the Johnnies were equal to the occasion and quickly threw 
some blankets over their shoulders, and the game went on till the 
officer rode away. 


While in this camp the paymaster came and paid the boys for six 
months of service, and the sutler reaped a rich harvest, for the pittance 
that the boys received was freely spent for the few luxuries that the 
sutler had to offer. 

On the 15th of September, Col. Potter, who had been absent from 
the regiment since the battle of Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863, when he 
was badly wounded, returned, to the great joy of the regiment, and at 
once assumed command of the brigade, of which the 12th was a part. 

But the hope of a long stay in their new quarters was soon dashed 
to the ground, for on the 20th of September, after less than a month of 
"rest," came an order to move, and the regiment marched two miles 
towards Bermuda Landing. The boys left their comfortable quarters 
with keen regrets. 

Arriving at the new encampment, Col. Potter's command was de- 
tached from the 18th Army Corps and made the nucleus of a pro- 
visional brigade for the instruction of recruits, mostly short term men, 
who were arriving in large numbers. Here he soon had a brigade of 
nine regiments, and selected a staff commensurate with his command. 
He selected several of his staff from the 12th Regiment — Capt. Heath, 
who was appointed assistant inspector general; Capt. J. W. Johnston, 
who was made assistant provost marshal; Capt. J. H. Prescott, as 
aide-de-camp; and Capt. E. E. Bedee. 

Here again comfortable quarters were made, but on the 28th, the 
brigade was ordered forward to take the place of the 18th Corps, which 
had moved across the James river. Here the regiment was again on 
the front line, and they entered quarters just vacated by the 13th Regi- 
ment, N. H. Vols. 

The next day occurred the battle of Fort Harrison, when a portion 
of the rebel line was captured and held against desperate efforts of the 
enemy to retake it. The whole of the regiment was not engaged in 
this fight, but a portion of its men were used as skirmishers and sharp 
shooters. As sharp-shooters they did effectual work in picking off 
the artillerymen and silencing the batteries. The 12th, however, 
worked with the spade, after the battle, to strengthen the works so as 
to prevent recapture by the enemy. Then it engaged with pick and 
spade in constructing a new line of works between the fort and the 
river, which occupied several days. Here the boys worked in the rain 
and in a constant shower of shells thrown at them from the rebel gun- 
boats on the river. Again the regiment occupied the trenches, and this 
time to the right of Fort Harrison, but almost immediately it was 
ordered to report to the 3d brigade of the first division, which was 
commanded by former Capt. Barker of the 12th, now lieutenant-colonel. 

Oct. 9, the regiment extended its line so as to relieve the third 
division, and a few hours later moved still further to the right to the 


rear of the 10th Corps, and during the night, in a cold rain storm, re- 
lieved a portion of this corps then in the trenches. A few hours later 
another order came. This time Col. Barker was ordered to report to 
Col. Potter on the Bermuda Front, and so again the regiment was be- 
tween the James and the Appomattox rivers, and under the command 
of their old colonel. 

While here, twice in one night, the long roll was sounded for the 
boys to fall in to repel an expected attack of the enemy, but the firing 
proved to be that of the rebel picket line, firing at deserters who were 
leaving their ranks for the Union lines. Such was the discontent 
among the confederates and the desire for the war to close that vast 
numbers were constantly deserting. General Grant in his Memoirs 
estimated that the loss about this time from all the Confederate armies 
from desertions alone, amounted to one regiment a day. 

The victory of Sheridan in the Shenandoah valley over Early was 
celebrated in the Army of the Potomac and the Army of the James 
by a hundred guns each, loaded with shot and shell, and discharged 
against the enemy. 

In the presidential election of Nov., 1864, the soldiers in the field 
were allowed to vote. The result in the 12th Regiment was eighty-six 
for Lincoln and thirty-nine for McClellan. This was a larger vote for 
McClellan than in any other New Hampshire regiment except the 10th, 
which was largely Irish. This gave a majority for McClellan. 

From the above, an idea may be obtained of the daily routine at 
the front during the siege of Petersburg. On the 17th of November, 
something out of the ordinary happened. The 12th was on picket. 
At their right and left on the line were raw troops. The line was 
attacked by a small force of the enemy, and the raw troops at once 
fell back. Through this break the enemy gained a position in the 
rear of the 12th boys, and fifty or more officers and men of the 12th 
were captured. Capt. E. E. Bedee, who went out to ascertain what 
the trouble was, was also captured. 

Among those captured were Sergt. Albert W. Bacheler of Co. E, 
and Benjamin B. Thompson of Co. K. They escaped from Libby 
prison Dec. 12, and, after eight days and nights of perilous adventure, 
succeeded in reaching our lines. 

On Thanksgiving day this year, the Twelfth Regiment, in com- 
mon with other New Hampshire troops, received from friends in New 
Hampshire a liberal supply of turkeys, chickens and other supplies 
that sent cheer to the hearts of the boys battling for their country in 

On the 3d of December, the regiment was again moved to the 
north side of the James river. Here for the third time they com- 
menced to build winter quarters. The new encampment was upon 


Chapin's farm within seven miles of Richmond. The boys were kept 
busy with drills, picket duty, inspections and various duties, but there 
was little fighting on the north side of the James. That was mostly 
confined to the trenches about Petersburg. 

Soon after their arrival at this encampment, the boys expended 
$246 of their hard earned money in the purchase of a fine sword, belt 
and sash, and spurs, which were presented to Col. Barker. 

The regiment at this time was in camp near Butler's famous 
Dutch Gap canal. Fort Darling, a strong Confederate fort, stood at 
the north end of a long detour in the James river, and commanded the 
river so effectually that no Union gun boats dared attempt the passage. 
A few miles south of this fort, the river above Fort Darling came so 
near the river below, that General Butler conceived the idea of cutting 
a canal from one point to the other, thus enabling our gun boats to visit 
Richmond without passing Fort Darling. The idea seemed reasonable 
enough, except to professional engineers, who made it the butt of ridi- 
cule, and all the money and labor expended amounted to nothing. It 
was on Christmas day, 1864, while the 12th was encamped at Chapin's 
farm, that the last explosion was made on the canal and its bulkhead 
removed, uniting the stream above with the stream below. Water 
flowed through the gap, but not in sufficient volume to float a rowboat, 
and no further work was done on this famous canal. 

At the time work was being prosecuted on this undertaking, and 
a date frequently set when it would be completed, a general court mar- 
tial was convened of Regular army officers by General Butler to try 
an enlisted man of the Regular army. Butler had some of the Regular 
army troops in his command, and an enlisted man of this branch of the 
service could only be tried by officers of the same branch. The court 
found the man guilty, and sentenced him to three years hard labor on 
the Dutch Gap canal. The findings of the court were sent up to But- 
ler for approval, but he promptly dissolved the court and ordered the 
discharge of the man. 

Early in January, Butler was removed from his command, and no 
further work was done on the canal. General Gibbon succeeded Butler. 
General Potter became chief of staff of General Gibbon, and Lieut.-Col. 
Birney, of the 9th Vermont, succeeded Potter as brigade commander. 
The first day of his command, General Gibbon had a corps review, and 
while this was in progress, he received word that Fort Fisher had 
fallen into our hands with over 1,000 prisoners of war. This was a 
fort on the coast in North Carolina, which Butler had been sent to 
take a few weeks before, but returned without making the attempt, 
although the fort was but weakly garrisoned. Now, after being heavily 
reenforced, it had been taken by General Terry. This news was 


promptly communicated to the corps and was received with much 
enthusiasm by the men. 

Just above Dutch Gap, the Union forces had placed obstructions 
in the James to prevent the gun boats of the enemy from going below 
that point. On the night of the 23d, our boys were aroused from their 
slumbers by heavy firing, which proceeded from their gun boats at 
this point. They made a vigorous effort to pass the obstructions with 
three iron-clad rams, five armored steamers and three torpedo boats, and 
proceed down the river and destroy the depot of supplies at City Point. 
This was a dismal failure, and the fleet later in the day withdrew, 
leaving one ram so firmly grounded that it could not be moved. 

As the winter wore away, it became more and more evident that 
the days of the Confederates were numbered, and the spirits of the 
boys rose as they daily saw fresh evidence that all their sufferings and 
privations were, after all the blunders and incapacity of some high in 
command, soon to result in the complete success of our arms. 

Fall of Richmond 

The first days of April, 1865, saw the Union army frenzied with 
joy at the fall of Richmond. On Sunday, April 2, the advances of the 
army around Petersburg had made the position of the Rebel army 
untenable, and Jefferson Davis was so informed while at church in 
Richmond, and the evacuation of the city at once commenced. 

On the early morning of the 3d, our army advanced, only to find 
the works of the Confederates deserted. Then commenced a wild 
rush of the Union troops, or of many of them, that they might be the 
first to enter Richmond and Petersburg. It is not our purpose to 
enter into the controversy as to which of the Union troops first reached 
Richmond, but it appears evident that some of the 12th Regiment boys 
were among the first. Capt. Sargent of New Hampton and Lieut. 
Bohonon, a Bristol boy, were in charge of the picket line of the 12th 
that night, and the latter was first over the enemy's works in their 
front. The main detail was close in their rear, and as soon as the 
outer line of fortifications was passed, there commenced a wild race 
for the city, not in military order, but every man for himself. Corporal 
Newell Davidson of Co. G, now residing in Plymouth, being fleet of 
foot, was the first to enter Richmond by the road that the 12th took, 
and may have been the first from any road. 

Pen cannot describe the scene in Richmond when our troops 
entered. Pandemonium reigned. As the city was being evacuated, the 
Rebel army set fire to the principal buildings and store houses, and 
the flames spread rapidly. The poor and lawless elements were fight- 
ing for bread at the store houses, or sacking the stores for plunder, 


while whisky, which ran in the gutters by order of the mayor, was 
being gathered up and drunk by those who craved it. General Weitzel, 
who assumed command of the city as provost marshal, directed his 
attention to extinguishing the flames and in saving most of the city. It 
would seem that the city had suffered enough from its occupation for 
a year by the Confederate forces and the effect of the siege, and that 
the Confederate government would have desired to save the city, 
especially in view of the fact that its destruction could not aid what 
was already a lost cause. It may be that the fires were set by the law- 
less, who remained in the city. Who the real authors were, we think, 
has never been established. 

General Lee succeeded in escaping from Richmond with his army 
and marching southwest till he reached Appomattox, but while on this 
march of some miles, such was the hopelessness of his cause that his 
army had shrunk by desertions from 50,000 to 25,000 men. On the 
9th of April, at Appomattox, Lee surrendered to Grant the army of 
Virginia, and this virtually closed the war. 

The 12th Regiment was not numbered among the troops that fol- 
lowed General Lee and his retreating army. It remained in Richmond 
doing provost duty for a couple of weeks, when it crossed the river and 
continued this duty in Manchester till May 19, when it proceeded to 
Danville, 150 miles south, going by train, where the same duty was 
continued. Col. Barker was in command of the district of Danville 
and vicinity. 

Here the duties of the officers and men were arduous and trying — not 
in fighting or making long marches as of yore, but in restoring and 
preserving order, settling differences among the people, administering 
the oath of allegiance, and caring for the many cases of suffering and 
want among both whites and colored. 

On the 21st day of June, 1865, the 12th Regiment was mustered 
out of service, and, in company with the 10th and 13th Regiments, 
N. H. Vols., embarked on the steamer, "State of Maine," at Richmond, 
or rather Manchester, across the James from Richmond. They had 
proceeded from Danville by rail. After a brief halt at Fortress Monroe, 
the boat proceeded to New York, and from thence to Boston, where 
it arrived on the 25th. There they took the train for home. At 
Nashua and Manchester ovations were given the boys and these were 
repeated at Concord, where the troops were to be paid off and sent to 
their homes. 

The next day, after reaching the city, the troops went into camp 
at Camp Gilmore, where muster-out rolls and discharge papers were 
made out. While this was being done, the boys were at liberty to go 
and come pretty much as they chose. Their arms and equipments 


were turned in, though such as desired were allowed to purchase their 
muskets at six dollars each. 

On the 3d of July, the veterans were paid off, and, after nearly 
three years of associations, great sufferings and privations in the cause 
of their country, they clasped hands, bade each other adieu, and dis- 
persed for their homes. 

With the good feeling that so happily exists today between the 
North and the South there has come a sentiment that the struggle be- 
tween the states, though awful in its extent, was not of very much 
moment after all; that it was only a family quarrel that happily ended; 
that, the bitterness ended, the two sections have come together, under- 
standing each other better, and that this has resulted in the working 
together of the people and the consequent prosperity that has followed. 

This is but a superficial survey of the results of the conflict. It 
was a great struggle between right and wrong, and, as the victories of 
Charles Martel in 732 drove back the Moslem hordes and prevented all 
Europe from becoming Moslem at the point of the sword, so the vic- 
tories of the Union army freed the nation from the incubus of slavery 
and threw off the weight that hampered her prosperity, and made it 
possible for the nation to make the rapid progress she has since made; 
and so the people of today are enjoying the full measure of the re- 
sults of that struggle. And one reason that the people of the South 
today rejoice in the outcome of that war is because they see that the 
great hindrance to their advancement has been removed. 



On the morning when I bade my comrades good-bye at Bermuda 
Hundreds, I went to the landing to secure passage to Fortress Monroe. 
There I found the 115th N. Y. Vols, disembarking, and, on look- 
ing about me, I found my brother Abbott standing near by. I passed 
two or three hours in his company — precious hours they were, and the 
last I was to see of him. The booming of cannon was heard in the 
direction of Petersburg, his regiment fell in and I bade him good-bye. 
He did good service in the campaign then opening, and three months 
later, while carrying the colors of his regiment at the battle of Deep 
Bottom, Va., he was shot through the body, and died on the field. His 
last words were, "Tell my friends I died happy and died for my coun- 
try." Corp. Musgrove was the flower of his father's family, an up- 
right, intelligent, young man of great promise, and a sincere Christian. 
He lived long enough to request that a comrade take his journal, his 
testament and some mementos for his friends at home, and he died 
with the words quoted above on his lips. His remains were buried on 
Chapin's farm, and soon after the war an effort was made to recover 
them for interment in the family lot, but the only information that 
could be gathered concerning them was that they were finally trans- 
ferred to the Fort Harrison National Cemetery and rested among the 
large number there interred with a marble slab at the head of the grave 
marked by that sadly expressive word, "Unknown." 

On Saturday, May 7, those of us who had been commissioned in 
the 1st Regiment, U. S. Vols., from the 12th, succeeded in getting 
passage on the steamer "Thomas Powell" for Fortress Monroe, and 
there we arrived the latter part of the afternoon. At headquarters we 
were ordered to report to Norfolk, where the 1st U. S. Volunteers were 
in camp. At the fort, from my scanty hoard, I purchased an officer's 
blouse, for which I paid $10, and threw away my old coat, which made 
me feel decidedly more respectable. 

At that time a boat made regular trips between Fortress Monroe 
and Norfolk, and on this boat I took passage and found myself in Nor- 
folk about 9 p. m. I at once reported to Col. Dimond in command of 
the regiment, and was assigned to Co. D. This company was com- 
manded by Capt. Enoch G. Adams. Capt. Adams was recently a 2d 


lieutenant in the 2d Regiment, and I was somewhat acquainted with 
him and considered myself fortunate in being assigned to duty in his 

The men of this regiment were enlisted, as before stated, from pris- 
oners of war at Point Lookout, who had taken the oath of allegiance 
to the United States. The men were of various classes. Many were 
Unionists from North Carolina, who had been forced into the Confed- 
erate service, and were now glad to transfer their allegiance and fight 
under the old flag. Others from the south were men of no principle 
and were as much at home under one flag as the other. This class was 
augmented by foreigners, who found themselves by force of circum- 
stances in the rebel army and then prisoners of war. These took the 
oath of allegiance and enlisted in the Union army to better their con- 
dition, and, as soon as opportunity offered, some deserted. Eight 
companies of these men had been organized, and they were now in 
camp at Norfolk to do provost duty in the city. Norfolk was one of 
the hotbeds of secession in Virginia, but was now occupied by federal 
troops, and was practically under martial law, and soldiers with mus- 
kets in their hands performed the regular police duty of the city. 

On the second day after my arrival at the regiment, I served as 
officer of the day at the encampment, and a few days later took my 
turn as officer of the city guard. As the posts of these men were 
widely scattered in various parts of the city, and as I was expected to 
visit all at some hour of the day or night, the duties of this position 
were very arduous. 

At this time Butler was south of Petersburg, and Grant was ad- 
vancing from the north on Richmond, and Norfolk was within hearing 
distance of the heavy guns of both armies. Hardly a day passed but 
we listened to the booming of cannon — either those of armies in the 
clash of battle, or at target practice at Fortress Monroe, or of guns of 
the navy. At Fortress Monroe there was much of the time a practice 
of rapid firing guns, which sounded like the clash of infantry near at 
hand. As we could not distinguish the character of the firing, we 
were constantly on the qui vive to know what was going on near us, 
and rumors, though not always reliable, always furnished some explan- 
ation. One night at 1 o'clock we were called into line in double quick 
time for the reason that the rebel cavalry was in the immediate vicinity 
of the city. They made a weak attack on our picket line and then re- 
tired. One day would come the cheering news of Grant's successes, 
and then our hearts were made heavy by Butler's reverses and retreat 
to Bermuda Hundreds. He did not attempt to enter the back door of 
Richmond till the enemy discovered his design and occupied that door, 
thus shutting him out. 


A few days after my arrival at the regiment, another detachment 
of men arrived from Point Lookout. I was placed in command of 
these men, and from them organized Co. I, which I commanded from 
that time on. Franklin Hedge, a man in middle life, who was a neigh- 
bor of Butler at Lowell and one of his hangers-on at New Orleans when 
he was in command there, was given a commission as 2d lieutenant 
and assigned to duty under me. He was a wood engraver before the 
war and evidently a good workman, but never much of a success as a 
soldier. He was the only assistant I had, and when his services were 
most needed he failed woefully. Six weeks later, or to be exact, Aug. 
13, 1864, I was commissioned captain of this same company. Lieut. 
Hedge was allowed to remain as 2d lieutenant, and a man by the name 
of David B. Wilson was appointed to succeed me as first lieutenant. 
This man served his entire time on detached service and I never met 
him, though I bore his name on my company rolls as long as the com- 
pany remained in the service. 

While in camp at Norfolk one of our diversions was a raid into 
North Carolina, the latter part of July. We traveled south, a part of 
the way along the tow path of the Great Dismal Swamp canal, as far 
south as Elizabeth City, N. C. There we remained a few days. While 
there an amusing incident happened. A schooner came down the 
river with a load of watermelons, and was nearing the wharf, when 
the captain discovered Union soldiers there, and at once commenced 
to swing his boat into the stream again to retire, but two or three 
muskets leveled at him induced him to tie up to the wharf as he had 
originally intended. The cargo was confiscated and devoured by the 
boys during our stay there. They also lived high on poultry and the 
best of the land. One day I took a stroll on one of the streets, and 
my attention was attracted to a church with the windows and doors 
boarded up. A deserted church was no cause for surprise, but why 
should the windows and doors be boarded up? The whole was ex- 
plained by hearing a rooster crow inside. The people hearing of the 
approach of the troops had hastily turned the church into a hencoop. 
I really had sympathy for the owners of those birds. The boys were 
not suffering for food and so I said nothing of my discovery, and the 
people probably thought they fooled the Yankees for once. 

The boys visited the city bank, but business had ceased there. 
They found, however, a large number of unsigned bills, some of the 
unusual denominations of three, four, and seven dollars. These were 
appropriated and carried away as relics. Some of the money was 
passed as genuine by the men to the people on the route back to Nor- 
folk. The real fruit of the raid was a large number of horses and mules 
and many bales of cotton, which were turned over to the government 
at Norfolk. 


On this raid we passed through a section of country where some 
of the men of the regiment had been raised, and some took the oppor- 
tunity to return to their old homes; at least there were several deser- 
tions here. It was apparent to any observing person that Norfolk was 
no place for this regiment to be quartered. The majority of the citi- 
zens were disloyal and sought by every means in their power to kindle 
what dormant love for the south existed in the breast of any of the 
soldiers into a flame, and some were enticed to desert. The government, 
therefore, determined to send this regiment to Milwaukee and Chicago, 
where a draft was impending, and thence to the western frontier. 
Accordingly on the 11th of August, we got orders to proceed to Chi- 
cago and there report to General Pope. There was general satisfac- 
tion at the receipt of this order, and the regiment numbered full ranks 
the next Monday afternoon, when we embarked on the transport Con- 
tinental Aug. 15, for New York, where we arrived Wednesday morn- 
ing following. 

Before leaving Norfolk I wired my brothers, John at Bristol and 
William at Cohoes, N. Y., to meet me at New York, but the telegrams 
failed to reach them and I was denied this pleasure. In the afternoon 
we disembarked and marched to the depot of the Erie road. Thence 
we were ordered to the depot of the Hudson River road. Arriving 
there, no train was ready and we passed the night in the city and did 
not get away till noon the next day. I again wired my brother William 
to meet me in Albany, but we passed through Troy instead, and so both 
my efforts in this direction amounted to nothing. I passed near his 
residence in Cohoes, but that was all the satisfaction I got. 

From New York we proceeded to Buffalo, thence over the Lake 
Shore to Chicago. The trip was a pleasant one, though constant vigi- 
lance was necessary on the part of the officers to keep strong drink 
from the men. In New York City, when at the wharf and en route to 
the stations, the men were not allowed to leave the ranks, yet a swarm 
of pocket peddlers sold whisky in bottles to the men in spite of all 
that could be done to prevent it. While waiting in line before enter- 
ing the station, I captured one of these men. He made no resistance 
as I worked two bottles from his pockets and then he turned to run. 
I threw one at his head, which struck him in the back and then broke 
on the pavement causing a round of applause from the mass of spec- 
tators gathered on the sidewalks. At every station in New York 
state, whisky was sold very freely. At one point where the train 
stopped there were but four houses in the hamlet, and I thought it 
probable that no liquor was sold there, but I soon found that in three 
of these buildings there was a licensed saloon. Boiling with indigna- 
tion, as I saw the whisky traveling in bottles to the train, I told one 
of the proprietors if he sold any more whisky to my men I would tear 


his shanty down over his head. If the fellow did not go "into the air," 
he fairly foamed with rage, and stepping to his desk placed a gun in 
his pocket, saying he paid for a license and had a right to sell. Just 
then the engine bell rang and hostilities were averted. 

Arriving at Chicago Sunday afternoon, next after leaving Norfolk, 
our regiment was divided. Six companies under the command of Col. 
Dimond were sent via St. Louis up the Missouri to Fort Rice, where 
is now Sioux City. From there one company went as far north as 
Fort Benton, at the headwaters of the Missouri, but some of the troops 
were held for garrison duty at Fort Rice. These six companies were 
scattered over a territory of one thousand miles. 

The other four companies, A, F, G, and I, under the command of 
Lt. Col. Wm. Tamblyn, were sent to Milwaukee, where we arrived 
during Sunday night, and bivouacked for the remainder of the night 
near the station. After breakfast we marched to Camp Reno, three 
miles distant. While at the depot the men were able to procure 
whisky, and as soon as they reached Camp Reno, they filled up with 
beer that was sold without limit, and the mixing of these two beverages 
made some of the men noisy drunk. Between the time that we landed 
in Chicago and the time we arrived at Camp Reno I lost eight men by 
desertion, a part at least by reason of strong drink. The men evidently 
got drunk, and some, fearing punishment, did not return. 

After two days' stay at Camp Reno in Milwaukee, I was ordered 
with my company to Madison, Wis., there to report to Lt. Col. Wm. 
Chapman at Camp Randall. 

As I was on the point of leaving Madison, I got my first mail from 
home after leaving Norfolk, Va., and then I was informed of the death 
of my brother Abbott. He had fallen in battle the day I was in New 
York City, and had therefore been dead a month when the news 
reached me. Although such news was likely to come at any time, the 
blow was a hard one, and the wound deep and severe. 

Camp Randall was the rendezvous camp for Wisconsin recruits, 
and we were ostensibly doing guard duty there as were the other com- 
panies at Milwaukee, but we were really there to respond to calls from 
Chicago or Milwaukee if needed in expected riots attending the drafts, 
and we were in constant readiness to march with a liberal supply of 

On Monday, Sept. 4, I got orders to report with my company to 
General Sibley at Fort Snelling, Minn. I started the next day, and at 
Milton Junction met Capt. Strout and Co. A from Milwaukee, bound 
for the same place. We arrived at La Crosse at midnight, Tuesday, 
and there remained just twenty-four hours before we found a boat 
going up the river large enough to carry our two companies, in addi- 


tion to the regular freight and passengers. At La Crosse, I lost one 
man by drowning and one by desertion. 

From Capt. Strout I learned that an order for my promotion to 
captain had been issued, but I did not receive official notice till some 
time later. 

When en route from Camp Randall to La Crosse I inquired of the 
conductor if he knew a conductor by the name of Lewis Rock. 
He replied that that was his name. Lewis Rock was one of the 
parties engaged in the school episode spoken of as occurring at 
the old red schoolhouse in Bristol village. He had become one of the 
substantial citizens of this part of the country and later was superin- 
tendent of the Northern Division of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. 
Paul railroad. On this same train was his wife, Mr. Sanborn and wife, 
and Calvin Cass of Bristol, and I spent a pleasant hour with them. 

At the time of our passage up the river the water was low, and the 
small stern-wheel steamer made slow progress, being three days to 
St. Paul. We frequently stopped on a sandbar, and then long sheer- 
like poles were placed, one on each side of the bow, their tops together, 
at which pulley blocks and a rope were attached. Then the crew pro- 
ceeded to raise the bow into the air, the engine started, and the boat 
gave a lurch forward. This process was repeated till the bar was 
crossed, when the boat proceeded till lanother bar was struck, and 
the same operation again took place. Sometimes in limbing the bar 
the paddles in the stern wheel were broken, and then after crossing the 
bar the boat lay to till new paddles could be put in place. 

We arrived at St. Paul Saturday afternoon, and after drawing ra- 
tions, of which we were very short, we took up the line of march for 
Fort Snelling, where we arrived about midnight. 

Monday, I made a hasty trip to Minneapolis and called on Isaac 
Cheney, an old Tilton schoolmate, who formerly resided at Franklin 
Falls. The visit was a reminder of other and more happy days before 
war came. On my way back I visited the Falls of Minnehaha, and 
a few days later Friend Cheney and some of his Minneapolis friends 
returned the call. 

Sept. 15, Capt. Strout started with his company for Fort Ridgely, 
and I followed the next day with my company. We moved, of course, 
in obedience to orders, but I could not see then, and have not been 
able to divine since, the wisdom that did not allow us to march that 
one hundred ten miles together. 

I arrived at Fort Ridgely on Tuesday, Sept. 21, having made the 
one hundred ten miles via Henderson in a little less than five days. 
The trip was uneventful, except for a chase for a black bear. I had 
just called a halt at a sightly place on the prairie, and the men had 
dropped to the ground for a rest, when a bear was seen just beyond 


rifle range. Several men at once forgot their fatigue and started for 
bruin, but he had detected us at the same time we saw him, and as 
he was the better on the race, he escaped. 

In garrison the quarters are arranged to give each officer a suite 
of rooms with conveniences for housekeeping, but at Fort Ridgely the 
quarters had been assigned to those who needed them most without 
regard to rank. The troops there were all Minnesota volunteers, and 
as both officers and men had their wives, and some their children, with 
them, demand for quarters was greater than the supply. I was assigned 
the front room of a suite, and though my rank gave me the whole, I 
preferred to allow a sergeant of Brackett's Minnesota Battalion and 
his family, whom I found in possession, to continue to occupy the rest. 
Indeed a large front room fifteen feet square was so much beyond any- 
thing I had ever enjoyed before in the service I was entirely satisfied. 

Sunday, Oct. 2, Lieut. Hedge and forty of my men started for 
Fort Wadsworth as a guard for a supply train, with the expectation of 
being gone twenty days, and I went to St. Faul as a witness in a 
court martial, and boarded while there at the Merchants hotel. The 
following Saturday I went to Minneapolis and spent a day or two with 
my old friend Cheney. A week later Lieut. Handy of Co. F joined me, 
but after a few days we returned to our respective commands, as the 
court was not ready to proceed with the cases with which we were 

During my absence from Fort Ridgely, Lieut.-Col. Tamblyn ar- 
rived at Ridgely with two companies, Co. F, Lieut. Evans in command, 
and Co. G, Lieut. J. P. Eaton in command; but by the latter 
part of the month all were permanently disposed of for the win- 
ter. Co. A went to Fort Abercrombie; G, to Fort Ripley; and 
F, to Fort Wadsworth; while Co. I, my company, was to remain at 
Fort Ridgely. The wife of Capt. Strout, who had joined him at 
Chicago from Maine, had come to Ridgely with him. Here she was 
taken sick with a fever, and When he started for his new post, he left 
her behind in my care. 

Fort Ridgely 

Fort Ridgely is located on a bluff on the north bank of the Minne- 
sota river, about forty-five miles north of St. Peter, on the same river, 
and following the stream about one hundred twenty-five miles from 
Fort Snelling, where the Minnesota unites with the Mississippi. When 
constructed, it was in the midst of the Indian country, and yet it was 
built simply as a post for supplies, with no thought that it would ever 
be necessary to defend it from attack by the Indians.. 

The buildings were on four sides of an oblong parade. The offi- 
cers' quarters were on three sides and consisted of one-story wooden 


buildings. A stone building, two stories high, contained the barracks 
for the men, and smaller quarters for married enlisted men stood in 
the rear of this building. The building for commissary and quarter- 
master's stores was also of stone, two stories, and stood at right angles 
with the barracks, on a line with the officers' quarters on the west side. 
The chapel and sutler's stand were at the north east outside of this 
square, and the magazine, strange as it may seem, was still farther 
removed from the center, being perhaps twenty rods out on the prairie 
at the northwest — a safe position in case of fire in the fort, but in a 
dangerous place in case of attack. The stables were an eighth of a 
mile from the quarters on the south. There was no stockade about 
the fort, and not even a rifle pit for use in case of an attack. It was 
simply a collection of buildings on the open prairie near a deep ravine 
on its east side, and the valley of the river on the south, which 
could afford shelter for a large assailing force. Its water supply was 
extremely faulty, as all the water used at the fort was brought in 
water carts from a spring a half mile distant, situated in a ravine 
which afforded fine opportunities for attacks from the Indians. 

The troops at Fort Ridgely, previous to our arrival, consisted of 
two companies of Brackett Minnesota Battalion cavalry, and two sec- 
tions of the Third Battery of Light Artillery, Minnesota state troops. 
None of these troops, except some of the commissioned officers, had 
seen service, except against the Indians, Where military discipline is 
not as essential as at the front and discipline was largely unknown. 
They were neighbors, called into the service by the Indian outbreak of 
1862, and the crowding of officers and men and their families together 
did much to keep up the old time level between officers and men that 
existed between neighbors. Discipline was extremely lax, and military 
duty was confined to necessary guard duty and an occasional drill. 
Dress parade was about the only function that was observed with 
moderate regularity. 

The crowding process had been carried to such an extent that 
there was quite a population at the fort and some society. Evening 
parties and dances were quite common, the dining rooms at the bar- 
racks being used for all miscellaneous gatherings. Select gatherings 
occasionally occurred at some of the officers' quarters. There was 
never any lack of fiddlers for any occasion, and their music was always 
satisfactory, however poor. The post chaplain, Rev. Mr. Sweett, held 
religious services in the chapel or block house on Sundays, and once 
or twice during the week, and there gathered the children for a school 
on week days, while a sutler sold lager beer by the glass. Mails 
reached the fort twice a week. 

Among the officers at the fort were Capt. A. W. Barton and Capt. 
Reed, both of the Minnesota cavalry. Capt. Barton was a native of 


Newport, N. H., and Capt. Reed was born near New London, N. H. 
Both had their families with them, and both these officers furnished 
congenial company for me With Capt. Barton I spent many hours 
playing chess, and occasionally I spent an evening at the chaplain's 
quarters, playing this game with the chaplain's wife. I also had much 
time for reading, which I gladly improved. 

The Massacre of 1862 

Fort Ridgely was a very important point during the Indian out- 
break and massacre of 1862, though woefully unprepared for the con- 
flict. Its garrison consisted at that time of Ordnance Sergeant Jones 
of the regular army and thirty men. The fight was a valiant one, and 
this little band, assisted by a few of the many refugees that reached the 
fort, successfully defended the place alone, till succor came from some 
of the larger towns of the settlements. 

The Indian outbreak of 1862, under Little Crow, was one of the 
darkest chapters of Indian warfare and massacre, that has clouded the 
pages of history from the first settlement of Virginia's shores in 1607 
till now. 

The great Sioux, or Dakota, nation formerly occupied the western 
part of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and the Dakotas. Over its prairie 
roamed vast herds of buffalo; its woods abounded with elk and deer; 
its countless lakes and streams with fish and wild fowls; while otter, 
mink, and beaver swarmed on the shores of its lakes and along the 
banks of its streams. 

In 1851, the Indians were induced to sign treaties by which they 
transferred to the United States over thirty million acres, embracing 
all of their lands in Wisconsin, Iowa, the Dakotas, and Minnesota, 
except a portion in Minnesota commencing just below Fort Ridgely 
and extending 150 miles to Lake Traverse, with a width of ten miles 
on each side of the Minnesota river. 

The real cause of this outbreak may be said to have dated back 
to the time when the payment was made for the lands purchased of 
these Indians. Previous to the signing of the treaty, many of the 
traders among these Indians, aware that a treaty was probable, sold 
at exorbitant prices a large amount of goods to these people on credit, 
or made up large fictitious claims. After the treaty had been made 
and before the payment, these men presented claims to the commis- 
sioners, aggregating $300,000, and this amount was actually paid and 
deducted from the amount due the Indians for their lands. This act 
caused great wrath among the Indians, and an outbreak was narrowly 
averted at that time. Red Iron, the principal chief of the Sissitons, was 
so outspoken against the injustice, and threatened vengeance so loudly, 


that Gov. Ramsey, the superintendent of Indian affairs, deposed him 
as chief. 

After the Indians had been removed to this reservation, the gov- 
ernment sought to have them settle on the land, and they were in- 
structed in the cultivation of the soil, seed and all manner of tools 
being furnished gratis. Two agencies were established, one called the 
Lower Agency or Redwood Agency, fourteen miles above Fort Ridgely 
at the mouth of the Redwood river, and another called the Upper 
Agency at the mouth of the Yellow Medicine river, which was also 
called the Yellow Medicine Agency. 

At the lower agency the Indian agent resided, and here was 
erected a sawmill to furnish lumber with which to build houses; a 
brick church was erected and missionaries supplied to teach the Indians. 
Little Crow, the chief, himself, lived in a brick two-story house at the 
Upper agency. Some of his braves lived in wooden houses and sought 
to imitate the white man in his manner of living; others preferred to 
live in circular houses made of wood and earth and covered with bark; 
while others lived in tepees made of canvas or bark, round, after the 
model of the Sibley tent, in use in the army. The Indians of one class 
dressed like white men, had their hair cut short, attended church and 
school, were married to one woman, each, by a clergyman, and buried 
their dead in the ground; those of another class wore the breechcloth, 
the blanket, and the leggings, took as many women for wives as they 
could afford, painted themselves with paint, ornamented their heads 
with the feathers of the eagle, placed their dead on platforms, and 
made war on the Chippeways, whom they tortured, killed and scalped, 
as opportunity offered. 

At the lower agency there were also a goodly number of families 
of white people living in comfortable houses; there were schools, 
stores, and various places of industry and thrift, such as marked the 
early stages of many of the prosperous and growing villages of the 
west. They lived with hardly a thought of danger, certainly with no 
anticipation of the horrible fate that awaited them and their hamlet. 

The Indian agent has been the fruitful cause of trouble among the 
Indians, though the reverse should have been the case. He was the 
disbursing officer of the government bounty, and ought to have been a 
power in leading these wild men of the plains to a better mode of life, 
but not so. Usually he was a man engrossed in making money as 
rapidly as possible, without regard to the methods used. He usually 
had a store in which the cheapest kinds of merchandise, gaudy calicoes, 
etc., were sold at the highest prices. These goods were sold largely 
on credit, and pay day was the day for the paying of the annuities, and 
then many of the Indians came many miles to receive their stipend, 
only to find they owed the trader all the trader, as agent, had for them. 


But sharp practices like these were not the only means of rob- 
bing the poor Indian. In making his disbursement of the annuities, 
a pay roll, similar to those in use in the army, was used. Every 
Indian's name was inserted on this roll, and each receipted for his por- 
tion with his mark, witnessed by some white man, usually the agent's 
clerk. It was currently reported and generally believed that many fic- 
titious names went on the rolls and the clerk could just as easily wit- 
ness to the mark of a fictitious name as to one that was bona fide, 
and by this process ten, twenty, or twenty-five per cent, of all the 
annuities, according to the conscience of the agent, went into his 
pockets at distribution. Adding to this his claims for goods sold, 
it can readily be seen that he absorbed a large part of the funds sent 
as the annuities to the poor red man. The Chief, even if he knew the 
number of his people, could not figure out how much each was entitled 
to receive, and he did not even know the process by which he was 
wronged, but he was not so obtuse but that he knew he was being 
wronged. This knowledge was one of the many grievances that the 
Indian cherished, previous to the outbreak. 

Another standing grievance which the Sioux cherished was the 
prohibition the government imposed against their making war on the 
Chippeways, their hereditary enemies. And still another acute cause 
was the delay in paying, in 1862, the annual annuity due them. They 
supposed this delay was caused by the great father at Washington 
being obliged to use all his money in the great war he had on his 
hands, and some reasoned that the delay in payments indicated that 
no more annuities would be paid. Then, too, they said, "Our great 
father forbids us to kill the Chippeways and he is at war himself slaying 
many thousands of his people." 

That the uprising of 1862 had been long expected by at least a por- 
tion of the Indians there is reason to believe. They foresaw the con- 
flict. The following incident will illustrate this point. I was one day 
visiting a family in Kingston that had narrowly escaped massacre in 
1862. A young lady of the family stated that a year before the out- 
break a party of Indians had encamped near her home, and fhe chief 
of the band tried to buy her of her father. No offer being acceptable, 
negotiations were dropped with the remark: "Well! I will have her 
next year for nothing." 

And yet notwithstanding all these grievances, the massacre of 
1862, with all its horror, might perhaps have been averted had it not 
been for strong drink furnished by the white man. 

On the 10th of August, 1862, a party of Indians went from the 
Lower Agency to the big woods in the vicinity of Forrest City, hunt- 
ing. Returning a week later they were furnished with whisky by one 
of the traders, or settlers. This caused a quarrel among themselves, 


and a part of these Indians, to show they were not cowards as they 
were taunted of being, shot and killed four whites near Acton. A boy 
carried the news to Ripley, and consternation spread through the set- 

The returning Indians carried the news to their own people, and 
there was instantly a division among themselves as to what should be 
done. The question was, should they deliver the guilty to the author- 
ities, or all go on the war path and wipe out the whites and the 
wrongs of the Indians at one stroke. Most of the young men were 
for war, but many others were for peace, and the excitement was 
intense. Little Crow, the war chief, left his brick house at the Upper 
Agency and cast his lot with the war party, thereby turning the scale 
in favor of war, and the massacre on a large scale commenced. 

The Indians, under the leadership of Little Crow, made their first 
attack at the Lower Agency. Here, mingling with the people as usual, 
at a given signal, the awful work commenced, and continued till a large 
number were killed. The only reason any escaped was because, after 
a little, the Indians gave their attention to carrying off loot, rather 
than seeking for more victims. Then all the buildings in the place but 
two were destroyed by fire. 

The refugees from the agency made their way to Fort Ridgely, and 
were saved there. 

The Indians at the Lower Agency under Little Crow were aug- 
mented by other bands from up the river, and from there they extended 
rapidly over the country, carrying death and desolation with tihem. 
All the horrors, some nameless, known to the Indian, were practiced 
upon the peaceable settlers. It mattered not what kindness had been 
received at the hands of any; all fell victims alike to the ruthless hand 
and unfeeling heart of the savages. Even those Indians who had pro- 
fessed Christianity and united with the church at the Lower Agency 
were eager to slay their teachers and burn the church where they had 
worshipped. Women were carried into captivity worse than death, 
children were mutilated and slain before their mother's eyes, and the 
more agony they could inflict upon their helpless victims the greater 
was the -satisfaction of these inhuman fiends. 

In the Beaver Creek settlement the settlers had gathered together 
for flight when the savages appeared. Cut Nose, an Indian of hideous 
appearance, jumped into a covered wagon and tomahawked eleven 
women and children. An infant was taken from its mother's arms and 
a bolt from a wagon was driven through its body before the mother's 
eyes, and then, after compelling her to witness this spectacle, they 
chopped off the feet and hands of the mother and left her to bleed to 
death. Here they butchered in fifteen minutes twenty-five persons. In 
one place not far from Fort Ridgely were found close together twenty- 


seven dead bodies, all more or less mutilated, the only living person 
being an infant on its mother's breast vainly seeking nourishment. 

Such scenes as these were multiplied almost indefinitely until a 
stretch of country from the northern to the southern border of Minne- 
sota and into Iowa and the Dakotas, twenty thousand square miles, 
was laid desolate, and for more than two hundred miles the lurid glare 
of burning homes lit up the heavens at night. More than a thousand 
persons perished, and millions of dollars worth of property were de- 
stroyed. In one week seven hundred persons were slain. 

The next day after the outbreak at the Lower Agency, Little Crow 
and two hundred warriors made their way to Fort Ridgely and New 
Ulm, about six miles below the fort. The fort was crowded with ref- 
ugees. Among the number was the Indian agent on his way from 
the east with $72,000 in gold, with which to pay the annuities due the 
Indians. The garrison of only thirty men made a stubborn resistance 
and succeeded in beating back the savages till succor arrived. 

New Ulm contained fifteen hundred inhabitants, but so widely 
separated were the dwellings that its defence was difficult. There was 
no military organization, and the people were in a panic. In the fight 
that ensued many lives were lost, and one hundred twenty-nine houses 
were destroyed by fire. The first assistance came from a party of fif- 
teen horsemen from St. Peter, who dashed into town when their pres- 
ence was greatly needed. Later came a larger party of volunteers from 
Le Sueur. 

New Ulm was a German settlement. The people did not believe 
in any religion, and religious services were not allowed in town. Here 
at one time, Christ was burned in effigy. Sunday was a great holiday 
with them, and their beer gardens then did a great business. Indeed, 
when I visited that place, there were three breweries which supplied 
the people with their favorite beverage. Sunday evening there was 
always a dance, and the only theatre of the village was then in full 
blast. I rode down there one day with some of the officers of the fort, 
and I had heard so much about the wickedness of the place, that I felt 
as though I were visiting Sodom and Gomorrah. 

The events that occurred at New Ulm at the time of the outbreak 
and later are of special interest to the people of Bristol and vicinity, 
because of Bristol people who were actors and victims in the terrible 
scenes enacted. 

With the Le Sueur party was Dr. Otis Ayer, a former practitioner 
in Bristol, and a native of the Ayer farm on the New Hampton side 
of the Pemigewasset river. Dr. Ayer was a leading spirit in this party. 
He attended to the sufferings of the wounded and did much to inspire 
the people with confidence during the siege that ensued. New Ulm 
was one of the centers to which the people on the widely scattered 


farms on the west had fled. The Indians had early surrounded the 
place and cut off and ruthlessly murdered scores of people seeking 
refuge there. 

Among the families from the east, who had sought a home on the 
frontier of Minnesota, was that of Joseph Brown. He had been a 
resident of the Locke neighborhood in Bristol; had married the daugh- 
ter of John Fellows, a Revolutionary soldier of Bristol, and by her had 
four children. She died, and in eighteen hundred fifty-five, with two of 
his children, Jonathan and Horatio, he went to Minnesota and settled 
fifteen miles west of New Ulm, where he took up land under a Revolu- 
tionary war land warrant, issued to his wife's father. The father be- 
came an extensive farmer, while Jonathan devoted his time to land 
surveying. Near them located two young men from Alexandria by the 
name of Burns, after whom Burnsville, Minn., was named. 

When the outbreak occurred, the Brown family, like the Willey 
family in the White Mountain Notch at the time of the freshet in 1826, 
left their house to meet destruction outside, while their home escaped. 
Loading as much of their earthly effects as possible into a two horse 
wagon, they, with their hired man, hastened towards New Ulm. When 
but a short distance from their destination, they were discovered by the 
Indians and all put to death. 

After the Indians had withdrawn from the vicinity of New Ulm, 
Dr. Ayer and his party scoured the country in that vicinity and buried 
such of the dead as could be found. This party found the Brown 
family and from the names written in the family Bible, Dr. Ayer rec- 
ognized them as former acquaintances in New Hampshire. Near at 
hand sat the family dog, which, for six weeks, had kept faithful watch 
over the remains of his master and family. 

At the time the Brown family left their home, the two young men 
by the name of Burns were thirty miles up the river. On their return 
a few days later, they found the Browns had gone as described above, 
and there they left two women, refugees, one badly wounded, whom 
they had found on the road, and they also set out for New Ulm, and 
reached there in safety just after the Indians had been repulsed. 

The two women left in the Brown home said that each day during 
their stay there, the dog came home at evening and drove the cows to 
the barn as he had been accustomed to do, and, after being fed, had 
disappeared, without doubt returning to his watch beside the remains 
of his master and family. 

While these events were taking place, an armed force was being 
organized at St. Paul and other large places. Gen. H. H. Sibley took 
command, and hastened to St. Peter. Here he found himself in com- 
mand of fourteen hundred men, but more of a mob than an army. 
They were armed with all sorts of weapons, and largely without ammu- 


nition. Small scouting parties were sent out at first, and then, as 
organizations were effected, larger parties were sent for the relief of 
New Ulm and Fort Ridgely. 

One party, on arriving at Fort Ridgely, found that the Indians 
had disappeared from that vicinity and a portion of the volunteers re- 
turned to St. Peter and to their home. A force was organized, however, 
to proceed up the river for operations against the Indians, which met 
with disaster. 

Confidence in their numbers led them to extreme carelessness. The 
first night they encamped near the Lower Agency in the worst place 
imaginable for defence, and with the early dawn a murderous fire was 
opened upon them. Within three hours twenty-three men and over 
ninety horses were killed, and sixty were wounded. After thirty-one 
hours of fighting without food or water, they were relieved by General 

The summer was spent in fighting the Indians wherever they 
could be found, and several engagements occurred, until finally the 
Indians, after the battle of Wood Lake, convinced of the uselessness of 
further hostilities, begged for peace. 

After protracted negotiations, a part of the Indians delivered up 
the large number of prisoners in their hands, mostly women and chil- 
dren, and surrendered themselves to the whites. 

The latter part of October, the. troops, with those Indians (about 
fifteen hundred) who had surrendered, and the captives they released, 
commenced their journey east. A halt was made at the Lower Agency, 
where a jail was erected for the better keeping of the Indians, and here 
the trial of the Indians commenced. A couple of weeks later the march 
east was resumed, the greater part of the Indians being escorted to 
Fort Snelling into a permanent camp for the winter, while another 
permanent camp was established at Mankato, where the trial of the 
Indians was continued. 

The military commission to try the Indians consisted of Col. 
Crooks, Lt.-Col. Nash, Captains Grant and Bailey, and Lieut. Olin. 

Written charges and specifications were preferred against each 
man tried, and no man was tried except for murder, the charge against 

Thus, one by one, over four hundred Indians were tried. Some 
cases were disposed of in five minutes. All that was needed as proof 
of guilt was the fact that the accused participated in a battle or mas- 
sacre. Three hundred and three were condemned to death, and eigh- 
teen to imprisonment. 

One peculiar fact in connection with these trials was the appearance 
of the Rev. S. R. Riggs, a missionary among these people. He sym- 
pathized with these people and was watchful that no injustice was done 


them, and yet he admitted that members of his church had participated 
in the massacre of innocent men, women and children. While in prison 
these same Indians and others whiled away the hours in singing the 
sacred songs they had sung in their religious devotions under the lead- 
ership of such men as Rev. Mr. Riggs. 

The findings of this court martial were sent to President Lincoln 
for his approval. At the same time many of the papers of the east ar- 
raigned the court for its inhumanity, and petitions largely signed by 
citizens of Boston and other places in New England were sent to the 
president, asking for their pardon or protesting against their execution. 

The result was that President Lincoln commuted the sentence of 
all but thirty-eight, and these were ordered to be executed at Mankato 
on Friday, Feb. 26, 1863. 

In anticipation of a great crowd at Mankato to witness the execu- 
tions, and possibly a demonstration against the Indians still under 
guard there, martial law was proclaimed on Monday preceding the date 
of execution, and among precautionary acts taken all sales of intoxicat- 
ing liquors within ten miles of Mankato were prohibited. 

Three missionaries, Rev. Dr. Williamson, Rev. Van Ravoux, and 
Rev. S. R. Riggs, were in constant attendance on the condemned 
Indians previous to their execution, and some of them expressed the 
belief that they should go directly to the abode of the Great Spirit, where 
they would always be happy Most of them were composed and indif- 
ferent, or even cheerful, in anticipation of their doom, which many in- 
terpreted as showing the Indian character, rather than the Christian 
faith. During their last night on earth, several were baptized by Father 
Ravoux, a Catholic missionary. 

At 10 o'clock, on the day of execution, a procession was formed, 
and the condemned were marched through files of soldiers from the 
prison to the scaffold, their arms having been previously pinioned. In 
the march the Indians crowded and jostled each other as though 
anxious to first reach the place of execution, and as they ascended the 
steps to the scaffold, they commenced to sing their death song. 

The execution was public and an immense crowd witnessed the 
scene. Three distinct beats on the drum slowly followed each other, 
the rope was cut, and thirty-eight men dropped into eternity, and a 
shout of approval went up from the assembled crowd, and then all was 

The bodies of those executed were cut down, placed in four army 
wagons in waiting, and all buried in one grave, thirty feet in length 
by twelve in width and four deep, in a sand-bar of the Minnesota river, 
outside the town. The other condemned Indians were removed to 
Davenport, Iowa, where they were held in confinement. The rest of 
the captive Indians were removed to the upper waters of the Missouri 


Little Crow, and such of the Sioux as did not surrender after the 
battle of Wood Lake, withdrew to the territory of Miniwakan, or 
Devil's Lake, in Dakota, nearly five hundred miles northwest of St. 
Paul. There, about four thousand Indians assembled. A desultory 
warfare against the whites, with occasional massacres, was continued. 
In 1863, a small party of braves penetrated the settlements to within 
twelve miles of St. Paul. In July, Little Crow and a party of sixteen 
returned to the scenes of the massacre, and in Hutchinson, he and one 
of his sons, when alone, met two men, and a fight ensued, and Little 
Crow was killed. 

Thus perished the leader of the great Indian uprising of 1862, which 
cost the United States about $10,000,000 in treasure, and when about 
one thousand peaceable settlers were slain, and settlements on the fron- 
tier were driven back some fifty miles, leaving the frontier, from the 
southern to the northern boundary of Minnesota, a scene of desolation. 

But all these scenes of desolation and woe, that covered the entire 
frontier of Minnesota, were brightened by the acts of a few civilized 
Indians. Some refused to join in the work of massacre and death, and 
aided as many whites in escaping as possible. This was notably true 
of Other Day, a so-called civilized Indian. He had adopted the man- 
ners of life of the whites, lived in a house built by himself, aided by 
government employees, and dressed as white men do. When the ques- 
tion of war or peace was considered by the Indians, he worked stren- 
uously to divert the calamity to his own race, which he clearly saw 
would follow an outbreak, and, when the decision was to go upon the 
warpath, he exerted his energies to save as many of the whites as lay 
in his power. He warned the whites near by of their danger, and a 
party of fifty whites gathered at his house and at a nearby storehouse, 
and he and four of his associates stood guard all night and prevented 
an attack. He then guided this party, augmented by twelve others, to 
a place of safety, but so closely followed were they, that one of the 
party died of wounds received while on the march. They were closely 
followed by a few who dared not make an open attack. 

At this same time a party of forty-two, including two missionaries, 
were led to a place of safety by other friendly Indians. There were 
those among the Indians, who were wise enough, or sufficiently 
friendly to the whites, to prevent their joining in the wild carnival of 

Other Day was a man shorter in build than the average Indian, 
and he lacked some of the ferocious features that characterized many 
of the savages. We met this man occasionally while we were on the 
frontier, and could not help noticing his modesty, when he was lionized 
by the whites for his humanity and bravery. 


The troops stationed at Fort Ridgely, when I arrived there, were 
the third Battery Minn. Light Artillery. The officers of this battery 
were Capt. John Jones, who, as Sergt. Jones of the regular army, was 
on duty at Fort Ridgely when the massacre commenced and had the 
credit of saving the fort; 1st Lieut. Don A. Daniels of Rochester, Minn., 
and 2d Lieut. G. Merrill Dwelle of Lake City. There were also two 
companies of the 1st Minn. Cavalry, Capt. Ara Barton and Capt. Reed. 
These troops had seen service in the Indian campaign of the previous 
summer. There were also stationed here nearly, or quite, one hundred 
men, who had formerly served in the Confederate army, and who, 
because of this fact, had been detached from their own regiments and 
sent to the frontier. These men were not desirable soldiers. They 
were mostly foreigners who claimed they had been compelled to enlist 
in the Confederate army and embraced the first opportunity to desert 
and enlist in the Union army. In reality, they had but little interest 
in either side and sought to improve their conditions by a change of 
allegiance. Among the number were some of the poor whites of the 
South, who seemed to be influenced by much the same motives as those 
named above. These men, as a rule, were a quarrelsome, unruly set, 
and made much trouble for the officers. Fights were common among 
them, and the surgeons of the post were often called to attend these 
men in the hospital, suffering from cuts and bruises inflicted in these 

Life at Fort Ridgely during the winter of 1864-5 was rather a 
dreary one, with but few military duties to perform, and discipline was 
harder to maintain among my own men than though they were asso- 
ciated with men who had been accustomed to the stern discipline neces- 
sary at the front. 

For recreation there was the social element spoken of before, varied 
in pleasant weather by horseback riding and hunting. Deer, ducks, 
prairie chickens, and wild geese were found in great numbers, and 
venison and bear meat were common articles of diet, more common 
than any other kind of meat. In one of my trips to inspect the line of 
stockades spoken of later, on approaching a small lake, I saw on the 
shore a flock of geese, several deep, that extended more than a half 
mile along the water's edge. As I approached, they rose and formed 
a compact body, and as they passed between me and the sun, they cast 
a shadow like a small cloud. On the upper waters of the Mississippi 
I have many times seen flocks of wild geese as large as this, or even 
larger. At another time a large bear crossed the trail ahead of me, 
climbed a tree and looked at me as I passed close by. As night was 
approaching and I was armed with a revolver only, I had no disposi- 
tion to annoy Bruin with a shot. 

A few miles west of Fort Ridgely was a line of stockades, or posts, 


from twelve to fifteen miles apart, extending the entire length of the 
state. Here were stationed detachments of cavalry, and every day de- 
tails from these posts patrolled the trail or road between the posts, ex- 
amining the ground carefully for signs of any Indian parties that might 
have crossed on their way to the settlements. This was one of the 
methods used to protect the settlements from Indian raids, or give 
alarm in case any hostile parties had appeared. 

Officers at Fort Ridgely were detailed at stated intervals to visit 
these posts and inspect this line. On one occasion, my friend, Capt. 
Barton, had made the inspection, and, on his return, narrated to me an 
episode that had occurred in which he had used my name, and which 
was the commencement of a little romance that afforded me much 
pleasure during my stay in Minnesota, when were formed friendships 
that have existed through life. On this trip he turned aside from the 
stockade line and visited a settlement about eighty-five miles northeast 
of Fort Ridgely. Here he met a family of eastern people consisting of 
a man, his wife and two daughters, and at their pressing invitation had 
remained over night. During the afternoon, in looking over the family 
album, he found a picture, which the younger of the two girls told him 
was a picture her sister had received in answer to a letter she had 
written in sport to an advertiser, who agreed to send the picture of the 
future husband of any who desired it. Later in the day he looked over 
this same album with the sister, and, coming to the one spoken of above, 
he feigned surprise that she should have the picture of that man. 
"Why, do you know him?" she asked. "Certainly," he replied, "it is a 
young captain at Fort Ridgely." Continuing the conversation, he said 
the next time he came that way he would bring the captain with him. 
To this she assented. 

Of course I readily fell in with that suggestion, and when it again 
came time for the inspection of the north line stockades, Capt. Barton 
and I asked to be detailed for this duty, and the request was readily 

The trip occupied about ten days, and was a most enjoyable one, 
two days being passed with our newly found eastern friends. They 
were a refined, cultured family and resided in a large two-story frame 
dwelling, the only one in the hamlet; and the father was the proprietor 
of a store and a large grist-mill. A son was a captain in the western 
army at the front. I several times visited here, and a ride, horseback, 
alone, of eighty-five miles over the prairie was no hardship. But all 
romances do not end the same way. The following summer I was 
sent to the plains of western Kansas, the war ended, and another cap- 
tain, returning from the army, sought and won this fair daughter of 
the northwest. 


A Western Blizzard 

On my return to Fort Ridgely from one of these trips, I came 
near losing my life in one of those blizzards that sweep this country 
with a severity that cannot be realized by those who have not expe- 
rienced them. A pleasant afternoon and congenial company led me to 
delay my departure longer than prudence dictated, but I reached the 
first stockade in due season, changed horses, and set out for the next 
post about twelve miles distant. The ground was covered with snow 
and ice, my horse was unshod and I made but slow progress. Just at 
dusk I reached a place where the land was level and covered with ice. 
Here my horse fell, and in trying to save myself I bruised my hip and 
sprained my left wrist. After getting my horse upon his feet, I led 
him around the ice instead of across it; then I came to another and 
still another sheet of ice, and when I reached the place where I thought 
the trail should be I could not find it. After a long hunt in the dark- 
ness I found the imprint of a horse's foot in the snow, and after exam- 
ining the direction the horse was traveling, I remounted and pressed 
forward as fast as possible, never for a moment taking my eyes from 
the trail. Evidences of an approaching storm were seen, and I realized 
the danger to any one who should be lost on the prairie at such a 
time. About ten o'clock I reached a deserted hut that had been used 
as a stockade and in that took refuge. In the morning the worst 
blizzard of the winter was raging, and my bed on the ground with a 
blanket over me was covered deep with snow. Fortunately I was 
near the post or stockade I was seeking, and there the soldiers furnished 
me with food and shelter, and there I remained for three days before 
deeming it prudent to resume my ride to the fort. 

The following facts may be stated as showing the fearful severity 
of those blizzards. One year later a Capt. Fields, a friend of mine, 
was traveling over this same route from Fort Ridgely with his com- 
pany of cavalry when he was overtaken by a blizzard. Taking seven 
men with him he said he would go ahead to the contemplated camping 
place, and have coffee ready for the company when it should arrive. 
When the company reached the camping place, Capt. Fields was not 
there. He and his seven men lost their way and all perished in the 

During the winter I made a second trip to St. Paul as a witness 
before a court martial and, as before, took up quarters at the mer- 
chant's house. Here I was joined by Lieut. Ephraim Williams of Co. 
A, and Lieut. Geo. E. Handy of Co. F, and here I passed a week or 
two very pleasantly. The ride from St. Paul to St. Peter, on my re- 
turn to Fort Ridgely, was with Lieut. Handy in a typical Minnesota 
four-horse stage coach of that day. From St. Peter we made the last 
fifty miles in a two-horse mail sleigh. 


In May, 1865, it was reported that a band of Indians had ap- 
proached the frontier and was encamped near Wood Lake, and Gen. 
S. S. Sibley issued an order for a small expedition to proceed to that 
place, against them, and placed me in command. The force command 
consisted of about one hundred infantry, including my own company 
under Lieut. Hedge, a squadron of Brackett's Battalion of Minnesota 
Cavalry under an officer of that organization, and one section of the 
Third Minnesota Battery under Lieut. Dwelle. Our march lay 
through what was once the Lower Agency when the massacre of 1862 
commenced. There were still many evidences of the fearful work of 
the Indians here — the stone walls of the agency building, the ruins of 
the saw-mill and grist-mill and the church, the ashes of the residences, 
and the farming tools as left on the day of the massacre. 

We also passed over the scene of the first battle with the Indians 
near the Lower Agency, where were still evidences of the strife when 
the troops fared so badly. Here I picked up the skull of an Indian 
warrior, that fell in this fight, and this memento still graces my collec- 
tion of relics secured in that country. At the Upper Agency, we saw 
the fine brick house, then deserted, that Little Crow vacated when he 
went on the war path. We encamped in a valley near the shore of 
Wood Lake and, after dark, made a march to the supposed Indian 
camp, but found no Indians. 

Near here we first saw an Indian burial platform — four stakes 
driven into the ground, on the top of which, at a height of eight or 
ten feet, was placed a platform on which was deposited the body of the 
dead, together with an extra blanket or robe, and, if a warrior, his arms, 
ammunition, and some food for his use in the happy hunting ground, 
until such time as he should become accustomed to the country and 
be able to provide for himself. From such a platform I obtained a 
scalping knife, a flint-lock pistol and some lead bullets, which I still 

Massacre of the Jewett Family 

In May, 1865, our community at the fort was stirred by the mas- 
sacre of the Jewett family. A small band of Indians succeeded in 
crossing the stockade trail without detection and proceeded to the vil- 
lage of Garden City, a few miles below the fort, and there wreaked 
their vengeance on the Jewett family. The entire family, six in number, 
fell easy victims to the ferocity of the Indians. All had been put to 
death in true Indian style. Some had been tomahawked in the house; 
others had fallen by arrows which overtook them when endeavoring 
to escape. The troops at the fort were promptly on the scene. My 
own company scoured the woods near by, but we were too late. The 
Indians had gone, but the cavalry took up the trail and followed them. 


They were proceeding with caution as signs multiplied that the wily foe 
was near, when, suddenly, the Indians arose from the grass and bushes, 
discharged a shower of arrows at their pursuers and, taking advantage 
of the momentary confusion that ensued, were off. They were not 
again overtaken. As a result of this fire one man fell dead from his 
saddle with an arrow in his chest. A half breed, taken later, was 
accused of complicity in this raid and promptly hung. 

This event spread intense alarm along the settlements. Some, 
who had returned to their farms near the fort, sought refuge there, and 
others solicited arms with which to defend themselves. The people 
could see the work of Indians in any unusual event. A day or two 
later a Mr. Lee came to the fort and reported that he had seen six 
Indians the night before and had been fired at by them. I was sent, 
with twenty men, about fifteen miles from the fort and scoured the 
country where he claimed to have been attacked, but could find no 
trace of Indians. I camped over night near a settler, and he said he 
had fired at a party of Indians the night before. Light began to dawn 
on the situation, and further investigation convinced me beyond a doubt 
that Lee, while drunk, had made a demonstration near this man's 
house, and it was this settler who had fired at Lee and not the Indians. 
I returned to the fort and reported facts as I found them and subse- 
quently my report was verified. 

The news of the fall of Richmond and the surrender of Lee which 
followed, April 9, reached Fort Ridgely by stage coach, several days 
after these historic events and caused great rejoicing. A salute of thirty 
guns was at once fired by the battery, and two hundred guns were 
fired the next day. But when, a few days later, came the news of the 
assassination of President Lincoln, our little community was plunged 
into deep gloom. 

In May (1865) Brackett's Battalion of cavalry started from Fort 
Snelling on an expedition to the Black Hills, and camped for a few 
days at Fort Ridgely en route. Two companies of cavalry, commanded 
by my friends, Captains Barton and Reed, joined this force and left 
the fort. The presence of this whole battalion at the fort for a few 
days was a great event for that little world of ours. 

Just previous to the 4th of July (1865) the paymaster visited Fort 
Ridgely and paid off the troops stationed there. Many of the Minne- 
sota men wished to send money to their homes and, as St. Peter was 
the nearest express office, I volunteered to go to that place with what 
money the men wished to send. My offer was accepted, and the men 
turned over to me in small amounts, $10,000. I had no thought of 
any danger in going alone with this amount of money, but, in view of 
the many detached men of questionable character at the post who 
knew that I had this money, Col. Pfaender, who commanded the post, 


would not allow me to go alone, and sent two men with me as an 
escort. We made the trip the 3d, and I turned over the money to the 
express agent late that evening. That shipment was the largest, the 
agent said, that had been received at the St. Peter office in one day up 
to that time. The next day, the 4th, I attended a great celebration of 
the people, and my uniform at once gained me an invitation to share 
the hospitalities of some of the leading men of the place and I had a 
great time. The speakers naturally confined themselves to the war 
just brought to a close, and I was particularly amused with the descrip- 
tion, given by one speaker, of the battle of Gettysburg, in which he 
placed the enemy on the inside of a circle and the Union forces on the 
outside, which was directly the reverse of the facts. 

On the 26th of July I bade adieu to Fort Ridgely and its occupants 
and started for Fort Snelling with my company, under orders to pro- 
ceed to that post for muster out. Before starting, three cheers were 
given for home and a discharge from the army. 

There were also sent to Fort Snelling, under my command, fifty- 
one detached men for muster out. These were the men spoken of 
before, who were serving at Fort Ridgely on detached service because 
of their having served in the Confederate army. There was not the 
best of feeling between the members of my company and these men 
but fortunately I had secured their good will and no trouble occurred 
till the settlements were reached and strong drink obtained. Then the 
devil that was in these men and my own came to the surface, and a 
small fight in camp, en route, instantly grew to large proportions, and 
fists, dirk knives and bayonets were freely used between my men and 
the others temporarily under my command. I waded in and was 
astonished myself at the power I exerted on those angry, intoxicated 
men. I succeeeded in causing a suspension of hostilities, and quiet 
continued during the night. 

On the morning of the last day before reaching Fort Snelling, as 
I was about to mount my horse and start the column on the march, a 
man by the name of John Pryor of the 13th Indiana Vols, came to 
me and complained that James Stillfox, from a Massachusetts regi- 
ment, had stolen his pocket book during the night. My assurance 
that the matter should be investigated when we reached the fort seemed 
to pacify him, and he started to take his place in the ranks, when he 
met Stillfox and at once demanded his pocket book. Stillfox pro- 
tested that he did not have it. Seeing trouble I spurred my horse for- 
ward to prevent this, but just as I reached them, Pryor leveled his 
gun and fired, shooting Stillfox through the heart. The dead man 
and his murderer were taken to Fort Snelling and there a court mar- 
tial was soon convened. Pryor was found guilty of murder and sen- 
tenced to be hung on a given date. It was my painful duty to read 


to him his death warrant, at which he broke down, protesting that he 
did not know what he was doing when he shot Stillfox, because he 
was drunk. 

At this time there were in confinement at Fort Snelling an Indian 
warrior, Wa-kan-o-zhan-zhan (Medicine Bottle), who boasted of hav- 
ing killed twenty-one persons in the massacre of 1862, and one other 
warrior under sentence of death for participation in the Indian mas- 
sacre of 1862, and the scaffold was made ready soon after I reached 
there. Again the people of Massachusetts petitioned the president 
to commute the sentence hanging over these red men, and the people 
of St. Paul petitioned the president to commute the sentence of Pryor 
on the ground that no white man had ever been executed in Minnesota, 
and they did not wish the record in this respect broken. The result 
was that the execution of the two Indians was postponed till October 
28, 1865, and Pryor's sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life 
in the Indiana penitentiary. 

My arrival at Fort Snelling was on July 29, 1865, and the next 
day I went to work on my muster-out roll and, a week or so later, 
presented the completed rolls to the mustering officer, when I was 
surprised to be informed that all my work had been for naught, that 
a telegram received during the night from General Pope at Chicago 
had stated that General Grant had directed our muster-out to be sus- 
pended, and that my company and the other three companies of our 
battalion be retained in the service till further orders. Some of my 
men were sorely disappointed, but made no trouble. As for myself I 
wanted to be discharged on some accounts, but, on the whole, now 
that the war was over, I did not mind a few months more service. 
I w"as greatly relieved in one respect — the detached men I had brought 
down from Fort Ridgely and some others, to the number of one hun- 
dred one, all of whom were under my command, were sent to different 
states for muster-out. My command seemed small after they had 
gone, but their departure was a great relief. My own company now 
numbered but forty-five. 

At Fort Snelling there was much more life than at Ridgely, and 
that suited my taste. The line officers on duty were few, so I was de- 
tailed as officer of the day about every fourth day. St. Paul was then 
visited by a large number of tourists, and nearly all made a visit to the 
fort, and I thus came in contact with many pleasant people. All 
wished to see the Indian chiefs in confinement there, and as I held the 
keys to the place of confinement when serving as officer of the day, at 
those times all such called on me. While penning these lines I have 
read a letter written home at that time, and in one I said that when 
there were pretty young women in the party I always invited them to 
my quarters, where I showed them the Indian relics that adorned the 


for board, with venison served nearly every meal,— rather too often for 
it to be very highly esteemed. 

walls. I am wondering now whether that statement was not a mis- 
take, as I do not remember of being influenced in that manner. I do, 
however, remember distinctly one middle aged woman, dressed in deep 
mourning, who said she was from the South. After looking at Medi- 
cine Bottle and his companion in chains, she turned to me with tears 
in her eyes and said, "I know how to pity them. They are a con- 
quered people." Her words conveyed so much meaning I have never 
forgotten them. 

Medicine Bottle had a pipe that I much coveted, and one day I 
asked him if I might take this after he was executed, to which he 
replied, "No, I shall need it in the happy hunting grounds." He did, 
however, give me a pair of moccasins he made, and these I still have, 
attached to which is his picture. His execution took place a short 
time after I left the fort for Fort Leavenworth. 

Early in October Col. Tamblyn, with Cos. A, F, and G, arrived 
at Fort Snelling from their respective forts at the north, and prepara- 
tions were commenced for the departure of these companies and my 
own for Kansas. October 14 found us marching for the city of St. 
Paul. There we made a brief halt and were addressed by Governor 
Sibley, the same man spoken of in previous pages as general, then the 
governor of the state. 

While at Fort Ridgely I was given by Col. Pfaender, the post 
commander, a recommendation for a commission in the regular army, 
and while at Fort Snelling this had been indorsed favorably by General 
Ramsey, in command of the department, and by General Corse. I still 
have the papers, as I never made an application to the war depart- 
ment for a position. Ephraim William, the first lieutenant of Co. A, 
presented similar recommendations and was given a commission as 
second lieutenant in the regular army, and spent his life in the service, 
and lost a leg in a fight with the same Indians in Kansas, whom we 
met after leaving Snelling. 

After listening to the speech of the governor of Minnesota and par- 
taking of some refreshments generously furnished by some of the public 
spirited men of the city, we boarded a steamer in waiting for our trip 
down the river. 

Our trip down the river was a repetition in some respects of the 
trip up. The water was of about the same stage as then, and conse- 
quently the paddle wheel floats were occasionally smashed in crossing 
a sandbar, and then there was a delay till the wheel could be mended. 
There were but few passengers on the boat besides our battalion, and, 
as the men carried their own rations, the number of boarders was 
small, being confined to the officers. The small number may have 
been the cause of the high price, three dollars per day being charged 


It happened that I so often saw the evils of strong drink on my 
men, that I had but little patience in dealing with it, and sometimes 
allowed my authority, backed as it was by force, to go further than I 
had any legal right to go. An instance of this kind occurred on this 
boat. There was a licensed rumseller on board, who sold without 
limit to whoever wished to buy. The second day on the river I was 
officer of the day and therefore in immediate command of all things 
concerning the welfare of the troops on board. I had not been on 
duty long when I discovered that the enlisted men were imbibing too 
much, and I forbade the bartender to sell any more to the enlisted 
men. He promised he would not, but I very soon noticed that the 
deck hands of the boat made very frequent purchases, and, instead of 
drinking the stuff at the bar, they carried it off in bottles. I very nat- 
urally concluded that the enlisted men were the real purchasers, and I 
therefore forbade the bartender to sell to the boat hands any liquor 
to carry away. As he would not promise to do this, I promptly put an 
armed guard into the barroom with orders not to allow any of the 
enlisted men to drink and not to allow anybody to carry any liquor 
out of the room. At this the bartender went into the air. He said he 
paid his license and hired that room, and had a legal right to sell to 
anybody, and I had no right to stop him. I allowed he might be cor- 
rect, but as long as I was on duty, he would not sell to the enlisted 
men on board, and he did not. A similar case occurred at a village in 
Minnesota, where I had made a halt when on the march. I put a 
guard at the doors of a drinking saloon, and kept it there as long as I 
remained in the village, and so prevented my men from getting intoxi- 
cated, notwithstanding the proprietor protested that I had no right to 
proclaim martial law in that village. 

One day in September, 1865, occurred an eclipse of the sun. I 
remember the boat was laid up on a rocky bar in the river at Keokuk 
the greater part of that day, and all the officers viewed the eclipse 
from the deck through smoked glass. The government had sought to 
improve the channel at this point, and a great mass of stone blown from 
the channel lay on the west bank of the Mississippi. This stone was 
largely composed of fossil remains of shells, and there I gathered a 
few fine specimens that now grace my cabinet. 

Arriving at Hannibal, Mo., we disembarked and proceeded by 
train across the state of Missouri to St. Joseph. Here we again took 
a boat and proceeded down the Missouri river a few miles to Fort 
Leavenworth, where we went into camp to prepare for a trip to our 
destination on the plains, four hundred fifty miles west of that point. 

Here the difference in the water of the Missouri river from that in 
the Mississippi was very noticeable. The water of the later stream was 
clear, but that of the Missouri was muddy, so thick one could not see 
an inch below the surface. A pail of its water left standing over night 
would contain two or three inches of sediment in the morning. 



At the time we went to Leavenworth, Ben Holliday's overland 
express line to California was in operation, its route east of the Rocky 
Mountains being along the Platte river in Nebraska, and Butterfield 
was seeking to establish a rival line from Atkinson, Kansas, to Denver, 
Colorado, and on to California. A route had been selected, and ranches 
for the keeping of the necessary stock for the exchange of horses or 
mules on the stage coaches had been established across the plains. 
This was called the Smoky Hill route and was pretty much the same 
as where now runs the Smoky Hill branch of the Union Pacific rail- 
road from Atkinson to Denver. This route was through territory that 
had, up to that time, been in the undisputed possession of several of 
the tribes of wild Indians, the Comanches, Arrapahoes, Cheyennes, 
Apaches, Kiawas, and a part of the Sioux nation. This territory was 
neutral ground, all these tribes occupying it in common at their pleas- 
ure. Naturally these Indians did not take kindly to a road through 
their hunting grounds, and they promptly showed their displeasure by 
taking the war path. 

On arriving at Fort Leavenworth, an order was issued assigning the 
companies of Col. Tamblyn's battalion along this line. Col. Tamblyn, 
with Cos. F and G, was to establish a post to be called Fort Fletcher, 
three hundred miles west of Fort Leavenworth; now known as Fort 
Hayes; Capt. Strout, with Co. A, was to proceed one hundred miles 
further west and establish a post at Monument, on the same stream, 
while my destination was Pond Creek station, fifty miles beyond Mon- 
ument, on Pond Creek, which emptied into the Smoky Hill. This 
order made my destination four hundred fifty miles west of Leaven- 

We went into camp near the fort and were soon busily engaged 
in preparing for our long march and winter's work on the plains of 
western Kansas. Two six-mule teams were assigned to each company 
for their permanent use, in which we were to carry the company sup- 
plies, tents, commissary and quartermaster's stores for immediate use. 
Four wagon trains of twenty-five six-mule teams each and one train of 
nine six-mule teams, each under the charge of a wagon master, were 
loaded with further supplies, camp and garrison equipage, lumber for 


a hospital, etc. The .number of mules, including spare mules for con- 
tingencies, numbered about six hundred seventy-five, while the entire 
number of men of the battalion was slightly over two hundred fifty. 
Two trains were to be unloaded at Fort Fletcher and return to Leaven- 
worth from there. The others were to deliver their freight to Monu- 
ment and Pond Creek and then to turn south and proceed to Fort 
Lyon on the Arkansas river, and from there bring further supplies for 
the ports at Monument and Pond Creek. 

These large army wagons, covered with cloth, and others even 
larger drawn by six mules or more or six or more oxen, used by the 
emigrants and freighters in crossing the plains, were known as prairie 
schooners. The driver of each team sat on the nigh wheel mule, and 
guided the animals by a single rein attached to the nigh leader. In 
his right hand he swung a long whip with such dexterity that he could 
plant a blow at any point desired, even on the heads of his leaders. 
The science of driving consisted of a series of jerks with the rein, a 
liberal use of the whip, and a constant stream of yells and oaths. 
Treated in this way the mule rarely failed to do faithful service wher- 
ever placed. He could be relied upon in two ways — as a willing 
worker and sure to let fly his heels whenever a person came within 
striking distance. 

Business took me two or three times to the city of Leavenworth, 
then in a crude formative state, having a large element of gamblers 
and disreputable people. The highway between the city and the fort, 
two or three miles, was considered unsafe even in the day time, 
because infested with robbers and highwaymen. 

We broke camp and started on our long march. Rain fell most 
of the time during the first two or three days, and the roads were 
heavy, the soil being clayey, similar to that of Virginia, but the mud 
soon disappeared with the appearance of the sun and we then made 
about twenty miles each day. We usually went into camp about the 
middle of the afternoon, and the mules were turned out to graze till 
night, when they were brought up and attached to the tongues of the 
wagons. In this way they required but little meal or corn from the 
supply carried on the wagons. 

On the fourth of November we encamped at Indianola in the 
Pottawatomie reservation, about eighty miles nearer the setting sun than 
when we started. On the march the men were not obliged to 
keep company formations, and, there being so many wagons, a man 
had no difficulty in taking a ride whenever so disposed. Infantry line 
officers are not entitled to horses, but most of us provided ourselves 
with mounts, preferring to ride rather than walk and the better to 
attend to our duties under existing circumstances, and to be armed 
and equipped for buffalo hunting when we should reach the buffalo 


country. I purchased a good saddle horse for $125, and a most hardy, 
useful animal he proved to be during all the months of my service on 
the plains. At our camp at Indianola, the heavens were made lurid 
at night by the burning of the prairie, and the few dwellings then 
standing there narrowly escaped destruction. 

The Potawatami Indians occupying this reservation were called 
civilized, and apparently were entitled to this designation. They culti- 
vated the soil, raised small herds of stock, and lived in log houses. 
These houses were usually about fifteen or twenty feet square and con- 
tained two rooms each. Two of these houses were frequently facing 
each other, perhaps fifteen feet apart, and one roof covered the 
two houses and the space between. St. Mary's Mission, a Catholic 
institution, furnished facilities for an education. Polygamy was still 
practiced among them. They seemed happy and prosperous. 

Much of the land on this reservation was low and marshy, and 
fever and ague prevailed to a wide extent. Hardly a house at this 
season of the year but had its victims. Through sleeping on the wet 
ground and breathing malarial air I was prostrated with what was 
called the dumb ague, and for the first time in my army experience 
rode in an ambulance because unable to sit in the saddle. On this 
occasion the ambulance went ahead of the column and stopped for the 
day at Fort Riley, where I rested in the quarters of one of the officers. 

A day or two later our column passed through Junction City, a 
small but rapidly growing village. Among the people who were 
watching our march through the town, we recognized Capt. J. H. 
Prescott, recently of our old regiment, the 12th N. H. Vols. This 
regiment had been mustered out a few months before, and Capt. Pres- 
cott was in the west, looking for a place to settle. He selected Salina, 
at that time the most western settlement in Kansas. His growth was 
as rapid as 'the country of his choice. He commenced the practice of 
law, was soon after appointed, or elected, a judge, and became one of 
the leading men in that portion of the state. At that time Salina had 
but half a dozen houses, but a few years later I received from Capt. 
Prescott, a descriptive pamphlet of the place. It was then a place of 
considerable size, with wide avenues, public parks, and public buildings 
and a street car service. On "Prescott avenue" was shown the fine 
residence of Judge J. H. Prescott. This incident shows how eastern 
young men of push and character rapidly came to the front and made 
their mark in this new country. 

Lieut. Eaton and I passed a few hours pleasantly with Capt. Pres- 
cott, recounting the past and anticipating the future, and 'then rejoined 
our command in camp that afternoon. 

At Salina we passed the last dwelling house on the frontier. Here 
was located a public house, on the outside of which was spread an 


immense piece of canvas on which was lettered: "The last chance to 
procure a square meal." The price was one dollar. We looked inside 
at the small table spread in the middle of the room that constituted the 
first story, and concluded we would let the last chance pass and trust 
to army supplies for our next meal, rather than partake of a meal in 
that place. 

Here, with three hundred miles still before us, we left the habita- 
tions of civilized men behind us, and entered that vast tract of country 
called the Great American desert, the domain of the Indians, the buf- 
falo, the antelope, the deer and the wolf. 

Buffalo Hunting 

As we progressed, indications that we were in the vicinity of the 
buffalo multiplied, but it was not till the afternoon of the second day 
out that we had the opportunity of trying the mettle of our horses in 
a buffalo chase. Then, in company of several other officers, we rode 
a few miles in advance of the column, and soon saw a herd of six, 
a mile or so in advance to our left. They were tearing along at a 
rapid rate, leaving a cloud of dust behind them. It was but the work 
of a moment to note the direction they were traveling, and then, put- 
ting spurs to our horses, we sought to reach a spot they would pass. 
The ground here was a rolling prairie, and from the time we started 
till we reined up our horses a few minutes later on a commanding 
position, we had seen nothing of our game, but we had hardly time 
to take a long breath and look about us when these same animals 
came in sight, this time only a few rods distant and coming straight 
as an arrow to where we were. In looks, the buffalo is a most fero- 
cious animal. In running, he carries his head near the ground, and a 
sharp, ugly eye from behind a mass of long tangled hair is enough to 
strike terror to any horse or man not accustomed to his habits. When 
wounded, the bulls are dangerous, but usually they will run before 
they will fight. Ordinarily a herd when traveling takes a straight 
course and is not easily turned to the right or left, but the statement 
so often heard that a herd of buffalo cannot be turned from its course 
is without foundation, as we several times demonstrated for the purpose 
of testing its truth. Ordinarily, the larger the herd the harder the 
work of turning it and the more persistently the leaders are followed. 
We do not mean that a herd may be turned square about, but simply 
that they may be turned from a straight course. On this occasion the 
buffalo advanced with a seeming determination to annihilate our party, 
then turned slightly to the left, and passed within a few feet of us. 
They struck terror to the horses, if not to the riders, and the horses 
reared and plunged to such an extent it was impossible to fire a shot. 
As soon as they had passed, we followed in hot pursuit, but it was 


impossible to overtake them, and they escaped. Though we frequently 
joined in the hunt later and saw herds extending many miles, yet 
on no subsequent occasion was the excitement equal to this after- 
noon. We could not dismiss them from our thoughts, when we closed 
our eyes that night, and all night long visions of flying herds were con- 
stantly seen, and our escapes from death beneath their hoofs were 
numerous and miraculous. 

As we advanced, wolves became very numerous. There were two 
species, the small coyote, or prairie wolf, and the grey, or buffalo, wolf. 
The former, the most numerous, were but little larger than a fox, but 
the latter were much larger. 

But few of the coyotes were seen in the day time, but as night 
approached, they gathered in vast numbers, frequently entirely sur- 
rounding our camp, being attracted from miles around by the odor of 
food. Then commenced a concert that lasted all night. Disappointed 
at not appeasing their appetites, it seemed that every wolf turned 
against his neighbor, and the air was filled with howls that baffle des- 
cription. Multiply an ordinary cat concert a thousand times, and the 
reader may have some idea of the music that lulled us to sleep many 
a night. It seemed at times that, emboldened by their vast numbers, 
they certainly would rush into camp and devour the entire party, but 
beyond disturbing our slumbers they did us no harm. Later on, these 
concerts were more welcomed because it was said their presence indi- 
cated that no Indians were about. 

Wood was a scarce article, and we depended almost entirely for 
fuel upon buffalo chips — dried buffalo manure. These chips were very 
plentiful, and immediately, upon halting for the night, a supply was 
gathered. The burning chips made a comfortable fire, emitting an 
odor like burning grass. Our camp stove was like a huge tunnel, 
placed on the ground, the top provided with a small funnel to carry 
off the smoke, but with no bottom. One difficulty with these chips 
was they made a great amount of ashes, and frequently the stove had 
to be lifted and the ashes thrown out, or the stove moved to a new 

On the arrival of the command at his destination, Gol. Tamblyn 
at once established a post, which was named Fort Fletcher, near where 
now stands Fort Harper. 

We were now in the heart of the Indian country. Indeed, along 
this creek, until our arrival, had been the homes of the red man, but 
they had now disappeared, and their disappearance was ominous of 
trouble, because all Indians, if friendly, are sure to make themselves 
familiar and generally offensively so. This spot was selected for a 
station because near by was timber in sufficient quantities to fur- 
nish material for the erection of quarters. 


The two trains with supplies for Fort Fletcher were unloaded there 
and returned to Fort Leavenworth. 

After a rest of a day or two at Fort Fletcher, Capt. Strout, in com- 
mand of Co. A, and I with my company, started for our destinations 
at Monument andPond Creek, respectively. We took along two wagon 
trains of twenty-five six-mule wagons each and one train of nine 
wagons, having supplies for our stations. 

The first three days out, the weather was fine, the trail in good 
condition, and we covered a longer distance than usual. A vast num- 
ber of buffalo were in sight, and we killed two or three to furnish meat 
for the men of our commands. Indeed, as far as the eye could reach, 
the prairie was black with these great creatures, and the men were ex- 
ceedingly impatient to go into camp that they might have an hour for 
hunting. In killing these buffalo for food, the young animals were 
always selected because the meat was so much more tender and palat- 
able than that of the older ones; but compared with first class beef even 
the tenderest was tough. The steak of the older animals was simply 
masticated, and but seldom swallowed. Quite frequently only the 
tongue and liver were taken for food. 

On the fourth day — Sunday — we went into camp early, about noon, 
a favorable place for feeding the mules being offered on the bottom 
land on the Smoky Hill river. Without authority from Capt. Strout, 
who was the ranking captain and therefore in command, the small train 
of nine wagons under a wagon master named Livingstone, had gone into 
camp nearly a quarter of a mile from the others. This man, since 
leaving Leavenworth, had been making complaints that the men of the 
other trains were stealing from his train and so he wanted to be by 
himself. The buffalo had largely passed out of sight, but Capt. Strout 
and many of the men and teamsters promptly went hunting after get- 
ting settled in camp. About the middle of the afternoon, while reading 
in my tent, a soldier came in from off the prairie in breathless haste 
and reported that he had seen Indians. Taking my field glass I 
ascended a bluff close at hand, and at once discovered a band of Indians 
mounted on fleet ponies, stampeding the mules of Livingstone's train. 
Swinging their blankets in the air and yelling like demons, they swept 
down upon the herd guarded by only a few teamsters. The Indians 
paid no attention to the herders, so intent were they in securing the 
animals, and the herders, mute with astonishment, offered not the least 
resistance. Every mule in the herd, fifty-seven in number, in a wild 
fright, was instantly flying over the prairie, followed by the Indians. 

Leaving Lieut. Hedge in command of the camp, I hastily mounted 
a small number of men on mules and started in pursuit. But the In- 
dians had had a start of several minutes, and, realizing the hopeless- 
ness of overtaking them, not even once seeing them after I started, 


after a few miles ride, I returned to camp and directed efforts to pre- 
vent further surprises and losses. The mules belonging to the other 
trains were brought up, and the trains corralled with the tents, or 
bivouac, for the men inside the corral. Then taking enough harnessed 
mules I went with teamsters to Livingstone's camp and drew his nine 
wagons to our camp. Here the contents of his wagons were distributed 
among the wagons of the other trains and the empty wagons abandoned. 
The next June, in going east, I saw these same wagons still standing 
where we had left them. The afternoon and night passed without fur- 
ther alarm, but towards night a smoke was 'seen a few miles to the 
west, which we understood to mean that the Indians were at work at 
a ranch just west of us, and so the events of the morrow proved. 

The next morning we moved early. As a precautionary measure 
the canvas on the tops of the wagons was rolled back a few feet from 
the front and, on each wagon, one or two men were posted in readi- 
ness to fire on any advancing foe, and the teamsters had orders, in case 
of an attack, to instantly throw the trains into a corral. In order that 
this might be done the more readily, the trains moved in two parallel 

We had proceeded but a few miles when I discovered with my 
glass a party seated on the ground in a circle, in true Indian style, a 
half mile in advance of us. Supposing this party to be Indians I took 
a dozen men and advanced under cover of a ravine to within rifle shot, 
intending to fire on them without warning, but, I discovered that the 
party consisted of six white men and two women. One of the men 
approached me with his head uncovered and I approached him in the 
same way. They were ranchers in the employ of the Overland Dis- 
patch Company at stations west of us. They reported that the Indians 
bad driven off all the stock of the company at their stations, and that 
they 'had left the ranches, fearing a return of the savages and the loss 
of their lives. They had been traveling east for two days with but 
little food, keeping all the time in the ravines from fear of being dis- 
covered. They reported that the night before they had passed to the 
north of the next ranch west of us and saw a fire there and heard 
scream's, and they feared the ranchmen were being tortured by the In- 
dians. We gave these people food and they gladly accepted our propo- 
sition to remain with us. 

The ranches, spoken of above, were habitations of the rudest des- 
cription possible, sometimes simply holes in the ground, covered with 
brush and earth, where one or two men lived all alone, from twelve to 
fifteen miles distant from neighbors, their occupation being to care for 
the stock necessary to operate the proposed stage line and change the 
horses or mules of the stage coaches that were expected but did not 
come, at least that year. That men could be found for such a duty as 


this seems incredible, and yet the company found plenty to perform 
this service, a single man being found at some of these ranches, and at 
others a man and his wife. 

Indian Cruelties 

As we approached the next ranch, Downer's, on our march, in com- 
pany with two or three others I rode ahead of the train a little, and 
a ghastly sight met our eyes. Here we found three dead men. The 
body of one lay in front of the ranch, stripped of all clothing, and from 
his chest protruded more than twenty arrows. One was driven into 
his ear and ghastly wounds had been inflicted on various parts of his 
body. Not far away lay another dead man, also nude, his body pierced 
with many arrows, his tongue cut out, and he was otherwise namelessly 
mutilated. In the rear of the ranch a still more sickening sight met 
our view. Here the fiends had made a fire of boards, t*hat had just 
been delivered there for the construction of quarters, and such other 
combustible material as the ranch afforded, and across the yet smoul- 
dering embers lay the body of a man half consumed from the knees to 
the shoulders. The arms were drawn to the chest, the hands clenched, 
and every feature of the face indicated that the man had died in agony. 
Without doubt he had been burned alive. Not content with this, be- 
fore leaving their victim, they had inflicted other indgnities on the life- 
less remains. When we removed the remains for burial the elbows 
unjointed. Our friends whom we had rescued had rightly divined that 
fiendish work was being enacted here when they passed this point the 
night before. 

We halted here long enough to give the remains of these men de- 
cent burial and then resumed the march, but we had proceeded but two 
or three miles when we found further work of these fiends on the day 
before. The Indians had evidently overtaken a party of three car- 
penters, in the employ of the Overland company, on the road with a 
wagon drawn by two mules. It was evident the men had deserted 
the wagon, probably hoping the Indians cared more for the plunder 
than for them, but none escaped. The mules had been taken and the 
wagon burned. About forty rods from the wagon one man was struck 
down, and there we found his remains, and a little further off the re- 
mains of the second man were found. Both of these had evidently 
fallen easy victims to the savages, but not so the third. He had suc- 
ceeded in reaching a "buffalo wallow" and there evidently had made a 
gallant fight for his life. A buffalo wallow is a large circular hole in 
the ground made by the buffalo. The buffalo, in order to rid himself of 
tormenting insects, lies on the ground, and kicks himself around in a 
circle using one horn for a pivot. Having once started a wallow, the 


same spot is used by many animals in turn until they sometimes ex- 
cavate a space a foot deep and fifteen feet in diameter, and this depres- 
sion with the earth thrown up on the rim of the circle made a breast- 
work that afforded considerable protection for a man with modern arms. 
It was in one of these wallows that the third man had taken refuge, 
and the large number of empty shells of the Smith & Wesson rifle, 
lying about, showed that he had sold his life as dearly as possible. But 
in time his ammunition was exhausted and then he, too, fell a victim. 
These three, like the three found earlier in the day, had been mutilated 
but evidently not till death had claimed them. Again we paused long 
enough to bury the dead and then resumed the march. A sharp look- 
out was kept during the day for Indians. None showed themselves, 
however, but smoke was seen in various directions, indicating their 
presence within a short distance, and possibly signalling among them- 

This day vast numbers of buffalo were seen. Indeed, our march 
all day was through immense herds extending as far as the eye could 
reach, all moving south, as usual, at this season of the year. At times 
they were on the run and there was great danger of stampeding the 
train. At such times the men could see in their movements the direct- 
ing hand of the Indians. No buffalo were killed this day as the dis- 
charge of a gun was to be the signal of danger. On the whole the day 
was one of great anxiety and danger. When we started in the morn- 
ing, nearly two full days' march lay between us and Monument but, in 
view of existing conditions, it was thought best to cover the distance 
that day. A halt was made at noon, the mules fed from the grain in 
the wagons and we again pushed on. We reached Monument just at 
night and here we found a company of the 13th Missouri Cavalry under 
command of Capt. Schnell, which had preceded us a week or two, to do 
garrison duty in connection with Co. A of our battalion. Another com- 
pany of this cavalry, under command of Capt. McMichael, had gone to 
Pond Creek to do garrison duty in connection with my company. 

At Monument we found one man belonging to the cavalry who had 
had his scalp taken by Indians. It seemed that a few days before our 
arrival two men were on the prairie hunting when they were fired on by 
Indians in hiding. One was killed outright and the other wounded. 
The wounded man feigned dead as the Indians, gloating over their 
fiendish work, came up. One Indian struck him on the ispine with his 
tomahawk, but still he showed no signs of life. Then another passed 
his knife around the outskirts of his hair, and, with a quick, strong 
pull, stripped the scalp from his head, leaving the cranium entirely bare. 
Then they left him. After a little he got up and walked half way to the 
station, became bewildered, and going back, again laid down beside 
his dead companion. In this position he was found later by comrades, 


taken to the station and his wounds dressed. Strange to say he was 
in a fair way to recovery when he took cold by his own carelessness 
and soon after died. 

Preparations for the night were hastily made, a strong picket and 
guard stationed, and the men bivouacked for the night. Quiet had 
hardly rested on the encampment when the silence was broken by a 
picket calling, "Who comes there?" Every head was lifted from the 
knapsack pillow and every eye was turned toward an approaching ob- 
ject. "Halt," cried the picket, when, in response, the heavy bray of a 
mule sounded on the night air, and, paying no attention to the chal- 
lenge, he trotted into camp. This mule had given out that day on the 
march and been abandoned, but rest and a few hours grazing had re- 
vived him and he concluded not to furnish a meal for the wolves. 

Our camp was on the west bank of the Smoky Hill creek, a most 
erratic stream. At times, or at certain places, its waters were seen 
flowing over the bed of the stream; at other places the bed of the 
stream was on top and the waters beneath, making their way east 
through the sand. Extending to the north a mile or more was a stretch 
of rich bottom land covered with a rich growth of prairie grass, now 
dry. Beyond were the "monuments" from Which the station took its 
name. These monuments appeared in the distance like a huge ruin. 
The water and winds had worn away the surrounding earth during the 
ages past, until the tops were fifty feet or more above the surrounding- 
land, the walls being nearly perpendicular. These sides and tops resem- 
bled hard baked clay and contained the rude carvings of the red men. 
Near the base were strata of shells and other organic remains, showing 
that since the bed of the ocean had receded from here, fifty feet of 
earth had accumulated, and then the storms of untold centuries had 
worn away this same accumulation, leaving them in their present condi- 
tion. On all sides bluffs and a rolling prairie limited the range of 

The next day after our arrival was spent in unloading the stores 
that were to be left here. During the day our number was augmented 
by the arrival, from the east, of a stage coach, containing General Brew- 
ster, the general superintendent of the eastern division of the Overland 
Dispatch company's line, R. A. Davis, a special artist for Harper's 
Weekly; a correspondent for the New York Times; and one or two 
other correspondents of New York papers. These correspondents were 
the guests of General Brewster and had come out here at his invitation 
to report on the beauties of this new line across the plains. They 
passed the night with us and then proceeded on their way to Denver, 
notwithstanding the experiences of the last few days with the Indians. 
Dr. Whipple, who was stationed at Pond Creek but who had come to 
Monument to dress the wounds of the man scalped by the Indians, had 


left Monument with General Brewster to return to Pond Creek. As 
they thus had a party of six or eight and were well armed, they thought 
themselves equal to any attack that would be made upon them. 

This party had been gone but an 'hour or so when Indians were 
again reported as being seen. Looking toward the east, with the aid 
of my glass, I saw, a mile or more distant, a body of Indians riding 
in a circle while, from inside the circle, was seen an occasional puff of 
smoke. This said that white men were there surrounded by Indians, 
and making a fight for their lives. These facts were reported to Capt. 
Strout, who hastily took a portion of his company and went on the 
double quick to the scene of action, and he arrived none too soon. 
The party consisted of two men, employees of the Overland Co., in a 
buggy. They had been attacked an hour before and had kept the red 
men at bay in a running fight, but just west of the spot where Capt. 
Strout rescued them, and between them and us, was a deep ravine 
through which the party must pass and here, without doubt, they 
would have fallen victims to the savages. Indeed, when Capt. Strout 
arrived at the ravine, the Indians had already commenced to dispose 
of themselves there, ready for the attack when the party should arrive. 

Baffled in their attack on this party, many of the savages turned 
their attention to the herd of mules feeding near the river. Anticipat- 
ing this movement I had taken a portion of my company and gone on 
the double quick to the relief of the 'herders. It was a race for the 
mules if not a race for life between us and the Indians. The Indians 
were mounted and we were not, so they had the better of the race and 
reached the vicinity of the herd first. It was then or never, so I gave 
the order to fire and the boys promptly dropped on their knees, raised 
the sights of their muskets at one thousand yards' range and sent a 
shower of cold lead into the dusky savages. The result was highly 
satisfactory, and to veterans of the hard fought battles of Virginia ex- 
tremely ludicrous. The savages instantly whirled, threw themselves 
on the sides of the ponies farthest from us and were off with even 
greater speed than they had come. When out of range they stopped, 
and the attention given one or two of their number indicated that the 
bullets had done some execution. 

The mules were driven to camp and secured, and this was done 
none too soon, for the Indians increased in numbers rapidly. They 
seemed to come from every direction, and soon surrounded our encamp- 
ment, but although they outnumbered us four to one they did not dare 
make a stand-up fight. Occasionally they would make a dash as though 
about to sweep all before them, and then as soon as they came within 
easy range of our rifles would turn and make a hasty retreat. At times 
they appeared on every side and then, without any apparent reason, 
every Indian would disappear and none would be seen for half an hour. 


At one time when no Indians were in sight a black bear was seen 
slowly making his way through the grass. Some of my men were 
anxious to go out and slhoot it, but this I did not allow, a ruse 
being suspected. I watched this "animal" with my glass and finally 
saw it rise and walk off on two feet. 

Thus the hours wore away till the latter part of the afternoon when, 
failing to entice us from camp, they sought to burn us out. The tall 
dry grass on the bottom spoken of before was set on fire on the west 
which, fanned by a strong western wind, burned with great fury, roll- 
ing up great volumes of black smoke. But fire must be met with fire, 
so a fire was set by us to meet theirs, and some of the men, 
armed with empty grain sacks, prevented the flames from running into 
camp, while the rest stood ready to meet the wily savages should they 
come down upon us under cover of the smoke. Our fire met theirs and 
no damage was done. 

While this had been taking place a buck had been all the time 
seated on a bluff, perhaps one thousand yards distant, evidently view- 
ing the scene with great satisfaction. As soon as the danger from the 
fire had subsided I thought I would see if I could reach this fellow with 
a bullet, so, taking a Henry rifle, I raised the sight to the highest point, 
drew a bead on him, and sent him my compliments. If he did not feel 
that bullet, he must have heard it, for he instantly disappeared from his 
perch and made no more observations from that point. 

As night settled over the scene, the heavens were made lurid in 
every direction by the burning prairie, and by its light we could see the 
forms of the red devils moving about. North of us we saw a large 
number joining in a war dance. The scene was not one conducive to 
sleep and there was no occasion to caution those on guard to be vigi- 
lant. Indeed, in making the rounds that night, we found many volun- 
teers on the picket line. 

That evening a council of war was held and the situation discussed. 
The council consisted of the six commissioned officers, two from each 
of the three companies present, and the three wagon masters. The 
latter were invited to participate because they held responsible positions 
and had had some experience on the plains. Two of the men rescued 
on the march were also present but not by invitation. We were seated 
in a Sibley tent in a circle, and each gave his opinion, in turn, as to 
what the exigencies of the situation required. The teamsters were in 
favor of a retreat; most of the officers were in favor of holding the 
ground where we were, but opposed to weakening our forces by the 
withdrawal of my company; while I, being under direct orders to pro- 
ceed to Pond Creek, thought the danger not sufficiently great to jus- 
tify me in not making an attempt to reach that point. All the com- 
missioned officers were a unit in thinking that I ought not to advance 


w<ith the wagon trains till the condition of the country west of us was 
ascertained. I there consented to make a reconnaissance the next day 
with a portion of my company, and, meanwhile, to leave the trains 
where they were. 

The two civilians referred to as present were the hus'bands of the 
two women in the party rescued a few days before. When all had 
spoken except them, I objected to their being allowed to give an opin- 
ion, on the ground that they were not in the service of the government, 
and, having their wives witlh them would naturally favor a retreat. 
Subsequently this opinion of mine was the cause of much sport at my 
expense, it being alleged that I took the position that the opinion of a 
married man in times of danger was not worth considering. 

The next morning I mounted a dozen of my men on mules and 
placed as many more in a six-mule wagon, and struck out for a recon- 
naissance of the country. I was in the saddle on my own horse. But 
few Indians were seen that day and these were evidently, like ourselves, 
making observations. Those seen were in small numbers on bluffs 
and other high elevations which commanded a good view of the 
country. Larger parties were without doubt near us, but the Indian 
as a rule is never seen when it is for his interest not to be. 

In this way we followed the trail west without anything of special 
interest happening till about noon, when we neared a stock-tender's 
ranch. Then a man came from a dugout, standing in a prominent 
position, which constituted the ranch, and made himself seen by us. 
Then another and another came to the surface until six or eight stood 
looking at us. They proved to be General Brewster and party and Doc- 
tor Whipple, who had left us the day before, and the solitary stock-ten- 
der, who was living at this ranch. Very naturally they were overjoyed 
at our coming, for their stagecoach was a useless thing on the prairie, 
their mules were in the hands of the Indians, and their rations and am- 
munitions very limited. 

A few days before, the Indians had driven off the stock at this 
ranch, but had not molested the ranchman, so he had remained in his 
dugout till the unexpected visit of General Brewster and party. This 
party was traveling in a Concord stage coach, made at Concord, N. H., 
the same as seen on the stage lines in all parts of the country west of 
the Mississippi river. Doctor Whipple was returning to Pond Creek 
riding his private horse. 

After leaving Monument this party had proceeded on its way with- 
out any incident of note till they were nearing this station. Then 
they were suddenly surrounded by a large body of Indians, who, for- 
tunately, seemed more intent in securing stock than scalps, and the 
stagecoach party did what many another party has done under similar 
circumstances; they lost their heads. One man on the inside of the 


coach discharged his rifle through the top and came near doing more 
execution among those on the outside than all the Indians com- 
bined. As the Indians bore down upon the party, swinging their 
blankets, and sounding the war whoop, the driver lost control of the 
mules, which ran wildly into danger instead of from it. Seeing this, 
the driver and passengers instantly jumped for dear life, one man not 
even taking his arms with him, and the Indians secured the mules. 
Doctor Whipple was mounted on a fine horse, and he very sensibly 
came to the conclusion that his life would be safer if he and his horse 
should part company, so he dismounted without ceremony and with 
special haste, as several bucks had evidently taken a liking to his horse 
and were bearing down upon him. 

Now the doctor was a very peculiar specimen of humanity. He was 
short, bow legged, round shouldered, cross eyed, an albino, and he 
had St. Vitus' dance in his eyes. He was not an officer of the army, 
but what was called a "contract surgeon," heing engaged for a special 
duty because no commissioned surgeon was available. In spite of his 
physical defects he was a good physician and surgeon. When the 
doctor landed, on this occasion, on terra firma, he found himself face to 
face with a young buck 18 or 20 years old. Both were armed with 
revolvers and both instinctively commenced to fire at the other. The 
Indian was so terrified at the object before him or, at finding himself 
alone in such close quarters with a white man, that he could not or did 
not shoot straight, and the doctor was so cross eyed that he could not 
see to do good execution, even if his nerves were calm, and so these 
two exchanged shots and neither was hurt. 

Fortunately this party in vacating the stagecoach saved most of 
their arms, ammunition and rations. They promptly took refuge in the 
dugout and prepared to defend themselves, but, fortunately for them, 
the Indians had nothing to gain by a further attack and did not again 
molest them, but during the afternoon the captor of the doctor's horse 
rode once or twice within hearing distance and shouted, "Much good 
horse, much good horse!" 

These men regarded my party as their deliverers and gladly accep- 
ted my proposition to return to Monument with us. We rested our 
animals, partook of hardtack and coffee, and were on the point of start- 
ing east, when we observed horsemen approaching from the west, 
whom we at first supposed were Indians, but who proved to be Capt. 
McMichael and escort from Pond Creek, who were out with the same 
object in view as myself, and we had met after each had traveled 
twenty-five miles, or half the distance between the two posts. Our 
meeting was very opportune, as it enabled us to cooperate in the move- 
ments of the next few days and enabled General Brewster and party 
to travel a few miles further west instead of retracing their steps to the 


east. I returned to Monument with my command, reaching there at 
a late hour much fatigued, having traveled fifty miles during the day. 
I at once issued the necessary orders to my company and to the wagon 
train masters for an early move on the morrow. 

The next morning before sunrise, coffee was made and buffalo 
steak cooked over a fire of buffalo chips, and these we partook of, shiv- 
ering in the cold, for it was now the latter part of November and the 
nights were cold. Just as the sun rose in the east, the trains pulled 
out. As one train had unloaded at Monument, this train took a part 
of the load of the other train so that the fifty wagons had the loads 
of only twenty-five. On this account, and because of threatened 
trouble from the Indians, we pushed ahead as rapidly as possible, all 
the time using the utmost vigilance to guard against a surprise. Our 
constant preparation for trouble may have been observed by the In- 
dians and thus saved us from an attack. After an hour's rest at noon 
for man and beast and for feeding the mules with grain rather than 
allowing them to graze, we again pushed on and arrived, late at night, 
at Pond Creek. 

During the afternoon of this day the buffalo came down on us in 
great numbers at one point, and, partly to turn them from the train 
and prevent a stampede, and partly to gratify the men, I gave permis- 
sion at one time to such as desired to fire, when crack went a dozen 
rifles and half a dozen buffalo bit the dust. Such was the condition 
of the air that this firing was distinctly heard by Capt. McMichael at 
Pond Creek, twelve miles away, and he at once prepared to go to our 
relief, supposing we were attacked by Indians, but hearing no fur- 
ther firing, did not move. 

In accordance with instructions received before leaving Leaven- 
worth, after the wagon trains had been unloaded at Pond Creek, the 
two empty trains were sent south across the almost trackless prairie 
to Fort Lyons on the Arkansas river, one hundred miles to the south, 
for further supplies. This trip was made with an escort from Pond 
Creek under the command of Lieut. Hedge of my company. Addi- 
tional supplies were brought to Pond Creek from Fort Lyons, and then 
the empty trains returned east to Fort Leavenworth. 

The trains on this trip passed over the Sand Creek battle ground. 
In 1863 a band of Indians consisting of Cheyennes, Arapahoes and 
Sioux from this vicinity made a raid into Colorado, stole stock and 
committed other depredations. Col. John M. Chivington was at that 
time governor of the territory of Colorado. He raised a company of 
three hundred volunteers and followed the savages to Sand Greek, 
where ensued, what was called at that time, one of the bloodiest scenes 
of Indian warfare in the history of the country. Nearly all the casual- 
ties were among the Indians, and a large number of men, women and 


children were slain, and the atrocities committed were said to have 
equalled those of savages. A storm of indignation arose throughout 
the country, and Col. Chivington was court-martialed. One member 
of the court was Schuyler Colfax. The colonel was acquitted but re- 
moved by the president from office. At this time evidences of the 
strife were plainly seen, and a Mexican bit found there now graces my 
collection of curios. 

Pond Creek station was situated on Pond Creek, a stream similar 
to a small trout brook in New Hampshire. This stream was but a few 
miles in length and emptied into the Smoky Hill river a mile distant. 
Its importance consisted in the fact, that it furnished all the water used 
at the station. There was no timber within several miles of this point 
with which to construct quarters, and the men went promptly at work 
to construct dugouts. On the top of the bluff and near the edge, rooms 
were excavated, usually about ten or twelve feet square and six feet 
deep, and the top covered with poles and brush, which grew on the 
banks of the Smoky, a few miles away, and on this was piled enough 
of the earth excavated to make a wind- and water-tight roof. A nar- 
row passage was cut from this room through the front wall for a door, 
and on one side or the back end was built a fireplace with a chimney 
on top to carry off the smoke. On one side was left a platform, which 
was used as a table or seat by day and a bed by night. The only way 
of admitting light was by removing the gunny bag that usually an- 
swered for a door. Such a room usually accommodated four persons. 
The soil was dry and such quarters furnished more comfortable places 
of abode than would naturally be expected. The appearance of the 
encampment reminded one of a lot of cave dwellers. For the use of 
my lieutenant and myself I had a wall tent, but as no tent erected in 
the usual way could withstand the gales of the plains, I had a space 
excavated sufficient to set this tent into the ground up to the eaves. 
The roof was strongly guyed, and thus I had all the light and con- 
venience of the ordinary wall tent. Shelter for the horses and mules 
was made at the base of the bluff, where the stores of the station were 

When I arrived at Pond Creek station Capt. McMichael and I 
compared our commissions to ascertain who was the oldest captain. 
I was somewhat relieved when the dates showed that he was mustered 
as captain a few days before I was, and that he was the ranking captain 
and therefore in command at this post, and not I. Capt. McMichael 
was a Missourian and his men were from Missouri. Though strong 
Union men they had been accustomed to fighting of the guerrilla 
stamp rather than fighting disciplined troops. They had had but little 
discipline, and while the lack of discipline among the men of Minne- 
sota made them more as neighbors and friends in tfhe service than 


soldiers, the lack of army discipline among these Missourians and their 
experience in the service had made them show more of the bully than 
men softened and knit together by common dangers and sufferings. 
The lieutenant of this company had lost his voice owing to an injury 
to the vocal cords by a bullet that passed through his neck, when he 
was trying to quell a disturbance in his company. 

Life at Pond Creek 

Life at Pond Creek station was decidedly dreary. By the time 
quarters were completed winter had set in. The buffalo had gone 
south as usual at this season of the year in search of better grazing 
and a warmer climate; antelope, though sometimes seen in large num- 
bers, seldom came near camp, were always moving rapidly 1 and could 
not well be followed; and indeed hunting for any game could not be 
indulged in except by large parties. The Indians had wiped out the 
stock at all the ranches so effectively that no attempt was made to 
resume business by running coaches and no mails arrived. Over two 
hundred miles stretched between us and the nearest settlement on the 
east, and week after week passed and not even a courier reached us 
bearing dispatches from military headquarters at Fort Leavenworth. 
Supply trains, long overdue, failed to arrive and provisions were get- 
ting low. To make matters worse, a large part of the supplies we had 
were found to be unfit for food. The pork and bacon were putrid and 
the hardtack mildewed. The situation was getting serious and star- 
vation or evacuation in the dead of winter seemed inevitable. Every 
day anxious eyes gazed towards the south in search of buffalo, 
or to the east, hoping to see the long expected relief train. 

At length, one Sunday morning, buffalo were seen some six or 
eight miles away. Capt. McMichael and myself, with six or eight men, 
were soon in the saddle and, with two six-mule wagons to bring in the 
game, were soon off. The herd proved to be many thousand in 
extent and was already on the run when we reached it, so that quick 
work was needed. Each, drawing his forty-four-calibre revolver, rode 
fearlessly alongside the passing herd and, selecting a passing cow or 
calf, fired, while on the run, at a vital spot of the animal. The buffalo, 
while on the run, is a most ferocious looking animal, and the bulls 
sometimes turn on a man with fatal results. For this reason our in- 
tentions were to keep on the outskirts of the herd, but in the excitement 
of the run, both on the part of the men, and of the animals in their 
efforts to escape, we were sometimes entirely surrounded by the buffalo. 

But the run was over in a few minutes and the herd rapidly dis- 
appeared in the distance, leaving eight cows and calves behind as the 
fruit of the run. Capt. McMichael was also on the ground writhing 
with pain. When on the run his horse had stepped into a gopher hole 


and almost turned a somersault, throwing his rider over his head. 
Capt. McMichael struck the ground many feet ahead of the horse and 
was so badly injured he could not rise. He was assisted into the 
saddle, the game was loaded into the wagons, and we returned to 
camp highly elated over the success of the day, so far as securing food 
was concerned. 

One hundred and twenty men, the number at Pond Creek, made 
short work of the meat supply captured that Sunday morning, and 
again the garrison looked hunger in the face. To make matters worse, 
forage for the horses and mules was entirely exhausted, and all the 
animals had to subsist on was the grazing to be had through from 
three to six inches of snow. Under such conditions they grew weak 
and unserviceable, and reminded us that ere long they would be in no 
condition for service on the road should we be compelled to evacuate 
the station. Finally an exact inventory of all the provisions on hand 
was taken, and we came to the conclusion that we could not subsist on 
the supplies then on hand more than fifteen days longer. 

Soon after this Capt. McMichael decided to withdraw his company 
of cavalry and make his way east, leaving my company to hold the 
station till relief could be forwarded, and he issued an order accord- 
ingly. I regarded this as cowardice on his part and involving a posi- 
tive peril to my command. I would be left with only a few days' pro- 
visions, 450 miles from the base of supplies, and with only my own 
horse and wagon mules for courier service or to hunt buffalo should 
any appear, and he could not reach Leavenworth and send back supplies 
in season to save us from starvation. I therefore sent him a written 
protest against his proposed course of action. Immediately on reading 
my 1 communication, he strode into my tent, evidently excited, and pre- 
pared to finish me then and there. I received him courteously, gave 
him a seat and opened conversation on matters entirely foreign to the 
subject of my protest, and, as we chatted, it was almost amusing to 
note the change in his demeanor and his evident embarrassment. 

Preparations for the withdrawal of his company went on, however, 
and on the eighth of January he started, with eight of his men as 
escort, for Monument, leaving orders for the rest of his company to 
follow the next day. One of his escort was a free mason and to his 
hands I entrusted a full report of the situation, and he was to forward 
it at the earliest opportunity to headquarters at Leavenworth. As soon 
as the captain left, I assumed command and forbade any one leaving 
the post except by orders issued by me. But Capt. McMichael was 
evidently ill at ease. After he had been gone a few hours, he returned 
to the post, resumed command and issued orders for the evacuation of 
the station. I was not even consulted as to the wisdom of this move 
and therefore had no responsibility' in the matter. 


In preparation for the contemplated evacuation, the medical stores 
and a part of the camp and garrison equipage were buried. (The med- 
ical stores contained a few gallons of alcohol. The night before we 
started this was dug up by some of the Missourians and stolen, and the 
first night on the march a great fight occurred among men under the 
influence of the alcohol they had drunk, and their officers were power- 
less to preserve order). All extra blankets were issued to the men in 
anticipation of needs on the march. 

The outlook was anything but cheering. It was the dead of win- 
ter. Snow lay on the ground to the depth of six inches on the average. 
The ravines were filled with deep snows packed in by the hard winds 
of the prairie. One hundred and fifty miles of trackless prairie lay 
between us and Fort Fletcher. The animals had had no grain for six 
weeks and nothing to eat but the little grazing that could be had 
through the snow, and they were therefore reduced in strength and ill 
prepared for the long and hard march before them. 

It was therefore with many misgivings that we loaded what was 
left of our supplies on the wagons, made the sick as comfortable as 
possible on the same wagons, and bade adieu to what we then called 
our comfortable quarters at Pond Creek. 

Moving East 

On the morning of Jan. 15, 1866, we started. First went Capt. 
McMichael's company of the 13th Regt. of Missouri cavalry, about sev- 
enty men, then the two six-mule wagons of his company and my own, 
followed by my company of fifty men on foot. The march was a 
tedious one. In the ravines the snow was deep and shovels were 
brought into frequent use to make a path so that the mules could draw 
the wagons along. 

We made about twelve miles that first day and halted towards 
night on the bank of the Smoky, where there was sufficient wood ob- 
tained for cooking purposes but not half enough for the numerous 
campfires needed by the men. Buffalo chips could not be had because 
covered up by the snow or too wet to burn. The mules and horses 
were given an hour or two to graze as best they could on the knolls 
where the snow was the lightest. 

For a night's rest there was no other alternative but to bivouac 
on the snowy ground, and all accepted the situation with true soldierly 
resignation. Those who had them spread rubber blankets upon the 
snow with woolen blankets on those, on which they lay down and cov- 
ered themselves with other blankets. No faces were left exposed and 
the more the snow drifted over those beds the warmer were the occu- 
pants. Each morning long rows of snowy mounds looked like a grave- 
yard in winter, but there was life there, and without the roll of drum 


or the bugle note the snow would heave and from the mounds men 
would issue, shake the snows from their bodies and their beds and pre- 
pare for another day's tramp. 

As we advanced difficulties increased. The mules soon began to 
give out, sinking exhausted in their tracks. In such cases a cavalryman 
would be dismounted, his horse harnessed in the place of the mule, the 
exhausted mule rolled to one side of the road, and the column would 
move on, leaving the unfortunate animal as food for the wolves that 
followed us. On the average, a cavalry horse lasted but one day in the 
harness and such halts became more and more frequent. From the 
start large gray wolves and the small coyotes followed our column in 
constantly increasing numbers as we moved along, and frequently, be- 
fore we were out of sight, the wolves commenced their meal on the 
animals left behind. 

Most of the time the weather was intensely cold — how cold we 
could not determine, as there was no thermometer in the party, but 
one night a mule was frozen to death while tied to the tongue of a 
wagon, and water left in an iron kettle was frozen to a solid mass and 
the kettle broken. We estimated the thermometer at several degrees 
below zero. On two days we were favored with a western blizzard. 
The air was full of falling snow, driven by a pitiless and unceasing gale, 
but, fortunately, we were, at both these times, where we had a small 
quantity of fuel and therefore did not attempt to move. Yet it was 
with the utmost difficulty that campfires of green wood could be kept 
burning in such a gale, and the men suffered intensely, hovering all day 
long over the fires as best they could and, at night, lying down in the 
snow to shiver all night with the cold. At several points no fuel could 
be found even for a campfire, but, anticipating such conditions, we 
managed to take along on the teams from places where we found wood 
a sufficient amount to make fire for coffee at night. 

Thus the days and nights wore away, and on the sixteenth day from 
Pond Creek, after nearly the last morsel of food had disappeared, we 
arrived at Fort Fletcher. When we arrived at Monument on this 
march, we were joined by Capt. Strout and the garrison there, as they 
too were out of supplies. At Fort Fletcher we found that the garrison 
had been living for a week on parched corn, but a train of supplies des- 
tined for Pond Creek arrived the next day. This train Col. Tamblyn 
unloaded at Fort Fletcher, affording a supply for a short time for the 
garrison and its additions. 

On the march from Pond Creek we had abandoned sixty of the 
ninety-nine horses and mules with which we started, and only one 
animal thus left on the plans, as far as known, had life enough left to 
prevent the wolves from devouring him. The apparent casualties 
among the men were confined to frozen ears and noses and rheumatic 


pains, but without doubt the foundations were laid on that march for 
many an hour of suffering in after life. 

The weather had been so intensely cold while on this march we 
concluded that the Indians would not venture out in their scanty cloth- 
ing to molest us, even if they knew we were on the move. In this we 
were mistaken, and, as we neared Fort Fletcher, we saw unmistakable 
evidences that they were on the war path, while at this fort were the 
remains of two dead men, and four were in the hospital suffering in- 
tensely from wounds received at their hands. 

It seemed that these six men, employees of the Overland Dispatch 
company, were traveling from the settlements to the fort. The weather 
was so cold that they, like us, thought no Indian would venture out of 
his tepee. Their arms lay in the bottom of the sled where they were 
riding, their ammunition was in their traveling bags, while their bodies 
and arms were heavily wrapped as protection from the cold. In this 
condition they moved along all unconscious of danger, when, suddenly, 
in passing through a ravine where the snow was deep, a body of Indians, 
who had concealed themselves in the snow, arose and fired, and then, as 
suddenly, disappeared before a shot could be given in return. By this 
fire two of the men were killed, the other four were all wounded, and 
the horses or mules were disabled. One man, able with great difficulty 
to walk, traveled to the fort twelve miles distant, whence help was 
promptly sent to his companions. Besides suffering from almost fatal 
wounds, these men were badly frozen, and lay a long time in the hos- 
pital at the fort before they could be removed east. 

An amusing incident in connection with this event occurred the 
following Sunday morning At that time Col. Tamblyn sent his or- 
derly, an Irishman, to the company commanders to notify them of the 
burial of the two men spoken of above. He found most of the officers 
together and delivered his message as follows, "Col. Tamblyn sends 
his compliments and directs you to notify 'those two men, killed by the 
Indians, that they will be buried this morning at 10 o'clock, and he 
would like as many as can to attend the services." This naturally 
raised a laugh among the officers, when Pat, seeing something was 
wrong, added, "Well! there may be a joke about it, but if there is it's 
on tfhe colonel, for he told me so." 

One of the men killed was said to be a young man by the name 
of Ballard, a son of a wealthy manufacturer of the modern rifle bear- 
ing his name. The father, later, sent some of his arms to the officers 
who had cared for the remains of his son. 

An allusion was made above to one horse abandoned on the march 
from Pond creek that survived the attacks of the wolves. This animal 
was found on the prairie a couple of months later by Lieut. Geo. E. 
Handy of Co. G. Instead of turning it in to the quartermaster as 


government property, he couid not resist the temptation to keep it for 
his private use for hunting buffalo. He, therefore, hired a soldier to 
care for it, and to feed it on government rations. Under such treat- 
ment it grew sleek and in prime condition and Lieut. Handy was prom- 
ising himself a rare treat on the chase, when, one day when the buffalo 
appeared, this man asked for the chance of first riding this horse that 
day in a buffalo hunt. Lieut. Handy reluctantly said, "Yes," and off 
his hostler started with others for the buffalo feeding a few miles from 
camp. A few hours later this man returned to camp with the saddle 
on his shoulders. It seemed that when joining in the chase he got 
excited, and the first time he fired, instead of hitting the buffalo, he 
shot the horse in the head and killed it. 

The first requisite at Fort Fletcher was winter quarters. These, 
the men set about building at once without waiting to recover from the 
fatigue of the late march. Fortunately there was a fringe of timber 
along the creek, and the art of building log cabins was well known to 
the men, so it was but a few days before the men were housed in com- 
fortable cabins about eight by ten feet, four men to each. Lieut. 
Hedge and I quartered in a wall tent till the quarters for the men were 
completed and then they constructed a log cabin for our use. This was 
about twelve by sixteen feet, made entirely of logs including the roof. 
The cracks were filled with mud and the nearly flat roof covered with 
earth. In the front and on each side of the door we had two windows 
drawn from the supply in the quartermaster's department. In the rear 
end was a fireplace built in Virginia style with a chimney of wood on 
the outside. Our bunks were at the right and left of the fireplace and 
served for seats by day and beds by night. My company desk was 
in one corner mounted on a dry goods box. My camp chair, which I 
still have, was a luxury and the only one in camp, a barrel chair being 
the best substitute in the fort. It was in these quarters while I was 
seated at my desk wearing a sash over my shoulder, as the badge of 
the officer of the day, that my lieutenant drew a sketch of the scene, 
and this, framed, I still have. 

But our occupation of these quarters was short. The latter part of 
February a stage reached Fletcher and that brought orders for Capt. 
Strout and me to proceed to Monument with our companies and re- 
establish the post there. About the same time there arrived at Fort 
Fletcher, Capt. Ball, with a company of the 3d U. S. Cavalry, under 
orders to proceed to Pond Creek and reestablish the post there. 

West Again 

Accordingly, March 1st, we once more bade adieu to Fort Fletcher 
and its garrison, and, in company with Co. A of the 1st U. S. Vol. 
and Capt. Ball's company, we again took up the line of march towards 


the west. We made but eight miles that day and encamped for the 
night on Big Creek. The next day we reached a station called Ruth- 
ton, and on the night of the 3d pitched our tents at Downer's Springs. 
This day was made memorable by a buffalo hunt with some of the 
regular army officers. The buffalo were much scattered, with but few in 
a place. Some of the enlisted men also hunted on their own account, and 
as there was no prearrangement these parties got into dangerous prox- 
imity to each other, and the balls from the Springfield rifles in the 
hands of the men whistled so about our ears that we abandoned the 
hunt and joined the column on the march. 

The next day we passed Castle Rock, which stands by itself like a 
huge castle looming up above the surface of the plain, and took pleas- 
ure in exploring its intricacies, as we did those of Chalk Bluff, which 
abounded with fine specimens of iron pyrites. 

On the afternoon of the sixth day we reached Monument, and Capt. 
Strout took possession of his old quarters, while I took the under- 
ground quarters vacated by Capt. Schnell the middle of the January 

With the return of spring the Indians seemed to have abandoned 
their attempt to drive the whites from their old hunting grounds, and 
we saw but little of them. The fear of attacks from Indians largely sub- 
sided, and with the return of the buffalo, hunting was resumed, and 
even small parties went long distances from camp while on the hunt and 
for pleasure. Men become accustomed to danger of any kind, and that 
there were not many casualties during the latter months of our stay there 
was due more to our good fortune than our good judgment, for the 
Indians had not become reconciled or peaceable by any' means. Lieut. 
E. Williams of Co. A was later given a commission in the regular army 
and served in this same locality and lost a leg in a fight with these 
same Indians in this vicinity. 

While at Monument two large government trains arrived with sup- 
plies for that station. Not long after their arrival some of the enlisted 
men became intoxicated, and it became evident that the whisky they 
had drunk was supplied by some one connected with the trains, so, 
taking a squad with me, I started on a search for the contraband article, 
and I was not long in locating it. A barrel of the stuff was found on 
tap, and the owner was evidently expecting to realize a fine profit, but 
I am afraid the leakage spoiled all that, for I picked up an axe near 
by and, with one blow, I knocked in the head of the barrel and the 
contents was spilled upon the ground. Not a word was spoken by me 
or by the men in charge during the whole transaction which, however, 
did not consume more than two or three minutes, and I at once pro- 
ceeded back to my quarters. 


On the twenty-ninth of March I was relieved at Monument by 
Capt. Morris of the 2d or 3d U. S. Cavalry and ordered to report to 
Capt. Ball at Pond Creek. On the morning of March 31st I started 
and arrived at Pond Creek on the afternoon of the second day. 

On the third of April the paymaster, Major Stafford, and clerk, 
which in this case was his wife, and escort reached camp. There came 
with them also Capt. Norris and Lieut. Allen of the regular army, Col. 
Tamblyn, Dr. Bradley and Robert Miller, the sutler at Fort Fletcher. 
Major Stafford established himself in one of the tents and commenced 
to pay the officers and men for three months' time. The officers accom- 
modated themselves in another tent, where gambling commenced with 
large stakes and continued till late at night. 

A great buffalo hunt was planned for the morrow. Indeed this 
was the chief reason for the presence of the officers from Fort Fletcher 
and Monument, but when the morrow came so many of the paymaster's 
escort were intoxicated that the older men among the officers did not 
consider it safe for the paymaster or his wife to travel under their pro- 
tection. The younger officers contended that they were not responsible 
but the officer in charge of the escort, and that the hunt should not be 

This reasoning had no effect upon the older officers. The hunt 
must be abandoned and it was, and all the officers returned to their 
respective commands with the escort. 

We sympathized with the disappointment of our guests and re- 
gretted that we were not to join in a hunt of larger proportions than 
usual with our distinguished guests, but we did not lack for sport in 
tihat direction, for hardly a day passed that a party was not made up to 
hunt these creatures, so I could enjoy the hunt whenever fancy dic- 
tated. These animals were now moving north and it seemed there 
were no limits to their numbers. The common way of hunting was to 
ride along side of them and shoot them downward through the back of 
the shoulder. The element of danger made the sport more fascinating. 
A wounded buffalo was quite likely to turn on one, so if a shot did not 
prove fatal the hunter must be prepared for what would follow. Some- 
times, too, a bull, the guardian of the herd, whether wounded or not, 
would turn on a hunter who pressed too close, and in such cases the 
situation was dangerous. Such a bull once turned on Lieut. J. P. 
Eaton of Co. G, and struck his horse a fearful blow on the hind quar- 
ters, driving his horn deep into the flesh and lifting the hind part of 
the horse from the ground. The next instant the horse was flying like 
mad toward camp bearing his rider from further danger. 


More Buffalo Hunting 

I had an experience different from this one day but attended by a 
narrow escape. I was hunting in company with Lieut. Horrigan, and 
came across a lone bull. The herd was a long way off, so we con- 
cluded to attack this one, though a bull is always a dangerous fellow to 
meet. Riding along side, but at sufficient distance to be safe in case 
he turned on us, we each gave him a shot. He at once slackened his 
pace to a walk and we turned his steps toward camp. For two or 
three miles we rode behind this animal, he all the time traveling ap- 
parently, as tamely and as indifferently as an ox. We congratulated 
ourselves we were going to drive this fellow to camp and there dis- 
patch him for the benefit of all concerned, but suddenly he stopped, 
turned about, and shook his head. In vain we tried to turn him and 
again start him for camp. Failing in this we concluded to dispatch 
him where he was, and with this in view we emptied our revolvers into 
his side, but seemingly with no more effect than the discharge of an 
air gun. He neither moved or noticed the shots at all. Here he stood, 
perhaps half an hour. My horse was facing the old fellow not more 
than fifty feet from him. I had laid the reins over the pommel of the 
saddle and had both hands engaged in reloading my revolver, when, 
suddely, he made a lunge for me. My horse naturally reared and 
swung his body from the infuriated animal, while I, with neither hand 
on the reins, slipped in the saddle till my right hand touched the 
ground, and my body, instead of the horse, was in position to receive 
the full force of a blow from the animal's horns. Fortunately Lieut. 
Horrigan was in fighting condition and he instantly gave the animal 
a shot in the head, and this shot, or failing strength stopped him when 
he was not more than ten feet from me. This supreme effort over, 
he gave up the ghost and died. 

At another time we had better success in driving a buffalo yearling 
into camp, after giving him a shot. This fellow consented to be 
driven as quietly as the old bull, spoken of above, till we came near 
the camp. Then, apparently not liking the prospect ahead, he attemp- 
ted to return to the prairie. This happened just as the men of the 
cavalry were riding their horses, bareback, to water. Seeing fun ahead, 
nearly every man broke from the line and came to our assistance, and 
such a wild scrimmage race as then occurred is rarely seen. Back and 
forth the party went, now headed for the prairie and now rushing like 
mad through the camp, endangering the lives of all spectators, and 
even the "standing" of the camp itself. Finally the animal attempted 
to ford the creek, when its cool waters chilled his overheated system 
and he sank exhausted not to rise again. A postmortem examination 
showed that the bullet this animal had first received appeared sufficient 


to end his career then and there, and the fact that he had strength left 
to continue so long a race for life only indicated the vast endurance 
these buffalo of the plains possessed. 

The favorite method of hunting the buffalo was riding along side 
of them as described above, but the still hunt was sometimes resorted 
to. By way of a change I joined a small party one day for a still hunt 
on a herd quietly feeding a mile or more from camp. Taking advan- 
tage of the rolling prairie we came near the herd without being seen 
and found the ground most favorably located for a near approach to 
our game. They were quietly feeding near a deep gully, and in 
this we made our way till along side of the herd and less than fifty 
feet from them. Peering over the top we watched these huge animals 
for some minutes and observed every motion when we could almost lay 
our hands upon their shoulders, and it seemed almost a pity to disturb 
them or make war upon them. But such sentiments are not culti- 
vated among hunters or those in search of food, and placing our mus- 
kets on the ground on top of the sharp edge of the gully we selected 
our victims and fired. We heard the balls strike the sides of the ani- 
mals like balls striking the side of a barn, the sharp reports of the rifles 
rang out on the prairie, the animals suddenly ceased grazing, and turn- 
ing their heads toward us, their great eyes and ours met and we looked 
each other steadily in the face. Each moment seemed an age as we 
gazed at each other. They seemed to hesitate whether to fly or charge 
us, and we were in doubt as to which they would do, and our fate seemed 
for a moment, and a long one it was, to hang in the balance. Finally, 
instinct prevailed and instantaneously the whole herd was straining 
every nerve to place themselves beyond further danger. They had 
moved but a short distance, however, when two or three began to fal- 
ter, soon stopped, lay down and ceased to breathe. 

In these days the buffalo inhabited the plains in their largest num- 
bers. We have seen the prairie black with these noble animals as far 
as the eye could reach, all on the run, and thus continuing during all 
the hours of a day, or even two or three days. Millions must have 
passed in that time. The Indians only hunted these animals for food, 
and the few white men who had penetrated this country and hunted 
them for pleasure as well as for food had made no noticeable effect on 
their number. 

Horace Greely once said that he saw five million buffalo in one 
herd and declined to take off one from the estimate. However that 
may be, we know we have seen just as many as Greely ever saw be- 
cause no one could see more — great herds extending as far as the eye 
could reach, many days in passing, and all going in one direction so 
that no animal was seen twice, now moving slowly and feeding as they 


moved and now moving as fast as strength would allow, sending up 
great clouds of dust as they moved. 

But soon after we left the plains the railroad penetrated this coun- 
try and hunters swarmed over the prairie, intent on securing buffalo 
hides which were shipped to market at a large profit. So great was 
the army of men engaged in the slaughter for gain that a very few 
years sufficed to wipe them from the face of the earth. The only rem- 
nants of the bison that now exist are found in private game preserves 
or those carefully guarded on the government reservations of the far 
West. Fortunately, the care given these animals in such places gives 
promise that they will be preserved as objects of curiosity, at least, for 
many years to come. 

Prairie Dogs 

Villages of prairie dogs were very common on the plains. These 
were always on dry knolls a long way from water, and if these animals 
ever had a drop of water, they must have obtained it in the bowels of 
the earth, for they never wandered far enough from their homes, on 
the surface of the ground, to obtain it. These animals were about the 
length of a gray squirrel with a body a little more stocky 1 . Indeed, 
they were sometimes called ground squirrels. Sometimes a large num- 
ber of these animals could be seen at the mouths of their holes, barking 
furiously at any object seen in the distance, but at the approach of a 
man they would all disappear. They were sometimes, though rarely, 
shot and sometimes eaten, but they looked so much like dogs that their 
meat was repulsive even if it were good. It was the meat of these 
animals that the men of Col. John C. Fremont's command ate when 
crossing the plains on one of his expeditions to California, and the fact 
that they were reduced to dog meat made them heroes in the Fremont 
political campaign of 1856. 

The optical illusion of the mirage was seen frequently'. Water ap- 
peared in its most tantalizing forms, and in one instance a most beau- 
tiful lake appeared with lovely islands, which constantly changed in 
form and receded as we advanced. We have traveled for hours with 
water constantly in sight only a few rods in advance and yet never able 
to reach anything but the dry, parched earth at our feet. 

On one occasion I was one of a party hunting buffalo a few miles 
from camp. In the run that ensued I became separated from my com- 
panions and I saw, on a ridge a short distance ahead, what appeared 
to be a small hut perhaps fifteen feet square with a still smaller ell all 
perfect in shape. What could it mean? It could hardly be the abode 
of a white man, for there was no water to be had within a mile or two, 
and it was not built like the abode of Indians in that section. My 


curiosity was aroused and, in spite of the fact that my companions 
were rapidly increasing the distance that lay between them and myself 
and that I might after all be approaching the abode of some red man, 
I proceeded to investigate. Cautiously I approached the spot, and 
when within perhaps fifty feet of the structure, a huge buffalo rose to 
his feet, instantly dispelling the illusion The mirage was responsible 
for this strange transformation. 

On the plains where we were the nature of the soil was such that 
petrifactions were common — wood, ibones and even flesh quickly turned 
to stone, when lying even on the surface of the ground. The men of 
my company found a petrified rattlesnake. They had no conception 
of its value and broke it in pieces. I fortunately secured a part and it 
now graces my collection of petrifactions found there, as do also nu- 
merous specimens of wood and bone, including pieces of the jaw of 
the wolf with the teeth intact. 

The prairie owl and the rattlesnake were said to share the same 
homes with the prairie dog. The owl was not found in great numbers, 
but the rattlesnake was very common, and constant care was taken to 
keep out of his way. The only sure cure for the bite of this snake 
was said to be the drinking of a pint or more of pure whisky at one 
draught, but as whisky was hard to obtain in that county and pure 
whisky not to be found at all, every one was extremely careful not to 
be bitten by rattlesnakes. 

The prairie wolves, especially the smaller breed or coyote, are in- 
teresting creatures to study. They exist in vast numbers, living in 
chambers or wolf holes in the ground, where they are safe from the 
attacks of all enemies and they appear to have but few. They sub- 
sist chiefly on the flesh of other animals, squirrels, prairie dogs, rabbits, 
frogs, mice, antelope and dead buffalo or those so near dead that they 
fall easy prey to their attacks. They seldom attack a vigorous buffalo, 
but the antelope falls an easy victim to their cunning, which may be 
said to equal that of the fox. The antelope is far the swifter of the 
two in a race, but, in its capture, the cunning of the wolf comes into 
full play. Once an antelope is marked for slaughter the coyotes divide 
themselves into relays and station themselves at widely separate points 
The first relay, perhaps a single wolf, will start the antelope and keep 
up the chase as long as his endurance will allow; then the second relay 
will take up the chase, while the first rests, and continue till he, too, 
is compelled to rest, when the first or a third relay will continue the 
race till the antelope is exhausted and falls an easy prey to its pur- 
suers. During the chase the coyotes so arrange themselves that their 
victim travels in a circle and his escape is impossible. 

Tactics as efficacious are employed to capture the rabbits or 
prairie dogs, but these fall an easy prey to the hunger of the wolves. 


As illustrating the large number of coyotes that existed on the 
plains, I remember on one occasion, after killing a buffalo near camp, 
I made one or two incisions in the flesh with my hunting knife, and in 
these I placed a small quantity of strychnine for the benefit of the 
wolves which I knew would visit the carcass during the night. The 
next day, on revisiting the scene, I found, within the space of a few 
rods, twenty-two dead wolves. The skins were quickly stripped off by 
the men with me and made their quarters more comfortable. 

In the settlements these wolves render the keeping of poultry and 
even sheep well nigh impossible. In 1904 Kansas paid bounties on 
twenty thousand coyote scalps without making any appreciable differ- 
ence in their number. 

The buffalo or grey wolf is a much larger animal, nearly as large 
as a Newfoundland dog. They are not as numerous as the coyote, 
but are sometimes dangerous fellows to meet, especially at night or 
when several are in a pack. They also subsist largely on flesh. They 
do not need to run down their prey as do the coyotes, but their tactics 
are just as shrewd They are generally found with the herds of buf- 
falo, and sometimes attack the old and decrepit members of the herd, 
but more often they are found near an old bull that has been driven 
from the herd by the young bulls. Such a fellow is an easy victim. 
Some of the wolves attack him in front and while trying to ward off 
this attack, others assail him in the rear, cut off the cords of his hind 
feet or in other ways deprive him of his strength, and thus make it im- 
possible for him to travel or even -fight off his assailants. Thus his 
doom is sealed and, even before life is extinct, the hungry wolves are 
feasting on his flesh. 

Indian Tribes 

The Indians of the plains with whom we came in contact were 
the Cheyennes, Sioux, Apaches, Kiawas and Arrapahoes. The Sioux 
were a part of the great Sioux nation of the North. These Indians 
roamed the vast plains between the Mississippi river and the Rocky 
mountains, and were leagued together for war purposes against the 
were joined by the Comanches of the South. These tribes were at 
whites, and when the region of the Arkansas river was invaded they 
war with all other tribes of the plains and mountains. There was also 
a band of Indians, said to contain two hundred fifty lodges of from eight 
to ten each, known as the Keoxa or Cut race, composed of renegades 
from all the other tribes of the plains. These ranged mostly in the 
Cheyenne country. 

At the time I was on the plains the chief of the Northern Chey- 
ennes was White Crow. The chief of the Southern band had been 
Grey Eagle till June, 1865, when he was killed at Platte Bridge and 


was succeeded by his brother, Spotted Wolf. The Man Afraid of His 
Horses was war chief of all the Sioux of the Arkansas and the Powder 
river country, while his son, Ta-Sungy-Ko-Ku-Pa or Son of the Man 
Afraid of His Horses was the war chief of the Ogalalah Sioux; of the 
Kioxa, or Cut race, Dog Valley was chief; of the Kiowa, Setank was 
chief; of the Comanches, White Buffalo; of the Southern band of Ara- 
pahoes, Left Hand and Single Eye were chiefs; and of the Northern 
band, Wolf Moccasin and White Wolf were chiefs; and of the Smoky 
Hill Apaches, Broken Nag was chief. 

The Apaches, which formerly were a large and formidable tribe, 
were reduced to less than a hundred lodges. In 1856 the smallpox 
made fearful ravages among them, and threatened their extermination. 
The smallpox has been a great enemy to all the tribes of the plains. 
Its appearance caused consternation among them. They did not 
know how to avoid infection, or care for the sick, and once an Indian 
was stricken, he was deserted and left to die alone on the prairie. The 
same may be said of cholera and the measles, though not to the same 

All the Indians of the plains are nomadic. They remain in one 
locality only as long as convenience or necessity requires. Their homes 
are tepees or lodges. These are made of long poles, fastened together 
at the top, spread out in a circle to the width of fifteen feet, more or 
less, on the ground, and covered with robes, with a place left for a 
door, which may be closed with a blanket when desired. A fire is 
built when needed in the center, and the smoke, when it passes out at 
all, disappears through a small hole in the top. This fire is used for 
cooking and heating purposes in cold weather, but the cooking is done 
outside in warm weather. The Indians sleep or recline in a circle 
around the fire. The home life inside the tepees is but little above that 
of cattle. 

These tepees are put up or taken down in a few minutes by the 
squaws. In traveling the large ends of the tepee poles are lashed to 
the sides of the ponies, and the small ends left to drag on the ground. 
On the ponies' backs and on these poles are placed the papooses, the 
tent robes and other belongings of the Indian encampment. 

These Indians, physically, are a superb race of men, almost a race 
of giants. In Africa there is a race of men called the Wolofs, which 
average over six feet in height (1.730 meters), said to be the largest 
race on earth. The Cheyenne Indians of the plains come next with 
an average height of nearly six feet, and to the casual observer there 
is but little difference in height between this and the other tribes. 
These Indians by nature and training are capable of great endurance — a 
marvel to the white man. 

While the Indian is really nomadic, abiding in no locality long at 


a time, yet his migrations are and have been confined to a limited ter- 
ritory, and no race of people have shown a stronger love of country 
than they. Their removal from one section of the country to another 
has been a fruitful cause of decimation by homesickness and climatic 
changes to which they were unaccustomed. 

Indian Chiefs 

All tribes have, or are supposed to have, three or more chiefs — 
the war chief, the village chief, and the medicine man. First is the war 
chief — the man who is generally known and recognized by the outside 
world as the chief of a tribe or nation, for he is the leader of his tribe 
in war and in council. This man by the force of his character may 
be a Little Crow, a Black Hawk, or a Sitting Bull, and controls not 
only his immediate tribe, but brings a nation under his control like 
Passaconaway of the Pennacooks. 

A warrior must be a born leader of men to long occupy the posi- 
tion of war chief at the head of a tribe of Indians that have existed 
and does now exist on the plains or among the mountains of the West. 

The village chief is generally or always one of the old men of the 
tribe, one who is too old to engage in war. His most responsible 
duty seemed to be to care for the village, or tribe, while the able 
bodied men were on the war path. In times of peace he probably had 
duties to perform, but his position seemed to be one chiefly of honor 
or distinction because of his record as a warrior, but one of his duties 
was to decide the question of the moving of the village to new loca- 

The Medicine Man is the third chief. He also holds his position 
by the force of his character — his ability to correctly prophesy, his 
success in healing the s'ick and his valor in war. The famous Indian 
doctor, skilled in the knowledge of the curative value of herbs, is 
known in story, but among the Indians of the plains he is a myth. 
When the women of a lodge cannot cure a case of sickness by the use 
of common herbs, of which they have some knowledge, they set up a 
series of ihowls among themselves. This failing, the Medicine Man 
comes to their assistance. He summons all the women of the village 
and they jo'in in a greater howl, sing incantations, and beat the tom- 
toms over the head of the sufferer, and sometimes, in spite of this 
treatment, the sufferer recovers. This treatment is sometimes varied 
by a treatment that may have some virtue, viz.: burying the affected 
one in a trench, previously heated by a fire, with only his head exposed, 
thus giving him a sweat. If he survives this cooking process, he is 
sometimes cured of a cold or rheumatism. 

The presence of the Medicine chief is required with every war 
party', and he must prove his immunity to harm by being a leader in 


action, and if h'is medicine fails, he is likely to be deposed and another 
given his position. He is also a semi-priest or comes as near a spiritual 
leader as is known among the savages of the plains. Perhaps it would 
be more proper to call him an oracle. Sometimes this man has such 
power that even the arrows that his squaws make (for he is allowed 
two wives) and that he sells have such wonderful power, that there is 
great competition to possess them, and he grows rich in ponies and 
blankets by their sale. 

The Indians of the plains have no written language, and the num- 
ber of their spoken words is very limited, for the reason that a few 
words will cover the full scope of ordinary conversation or intercourse. 
With any people words are used to express ideas or convey facts, and 
so the Indian, having but few ideas to express, (has need of but few 
words. To illustrate, there is no word in their language to correspond 
to the word virtue in the English because such a trait is unknown 
among their men or women. The word would as appropriately apply 
to the buffalo of the plains as to them. 

Probably no other word is so extensively used or has such varied 
meaning as the word "medicine." Its use as applied to remedies for 
the sick is of small importance as compared with its use in many other 
directions. An omen for good or evil 'is good or bad medicine as the 
case may be. If about to engage in war or the hunt, the Indian "makes 
medicine" to ascertain what the result will be. Indeed, making medi- 
cine is an every-day affair for the Indian. 

Indian "Medicine" 

"What is it to make medicine?" is asked. This question is not so 
easily answered. As a partial answer, it may be said the Indian is a 
very superstitious being. He believes in the existence of a good spirit 
and a bad spirit, who are constantly at war in their efforts to obtain 
mastery over him. If he succeeds in accomplishing his desires, it is 
because he is assisted by the good spirit; if he fails, it is because the 
bad spirit is in the ascendency at the time. To propitiate the spirits 
or learn how to read their desires or designs, every warrior has a 
method of his own that is known only to himself, and this is called his 
"medicine." Every young man before becoming a warrior in his 
tribe, retires to some lonely spot, and spends days or even a week in 
solitude, fasting and undergoing bodily discomfort and privations, seek- 
ing to know what shall be his medicine through life. Constantly 
dwelling day and night on the problem until exhausted by hunger, and 
the prey of his own benighted mind, he falls into a trance and is then 
told what shall be h'is "medicine." Usually it is the mixing of two or 
three ingredients, like water and ashes or pulverized bone, or two or 
three kinds of sand, or something else that can be done quickly and 


secretly, but whatever it is, his "medicine" is never revealed to his 
nearest friend. In making medicine he thinks he can divine what the 
near future has in store for him, and so he never engages in a hunt or 
does anything of importance without first making "medicine" to de- 
termine what the result will be. 

To be under the influence of the good spirit is not to be influenced 
to do right, but to be assisted to do what he wants to do, if it is to 
steal or even to commit the most atrocious crimes. All success or 
good luck is attributed to good medicine. 

Each tribe speaks a language of its own, and though these tribes 
have been neighbors for an unknown number of years, they have 
shown no disposition to learn the language of other tribes than their 
own. Intermarriage is almost unknown, and thus the several tribes 
preserve their individualities like distinct nations. 

There is, however, what is known as the sign language that is used 
exclusively in their limited communications with each other. It was 
a common remark that the Indian could not talk in the dark. This is 
literally true as regards communication between different tribes, but 
incorrect as regards individuals of the same tribe. 

In the spring of the year these Indians have what is called the 
Sun Dance. At this dance the doctor, instead of bleeding his patients, 
is bled himself. A vein is opened, his blood is caught on a piece of 
raw hide, and the braves pass in procession, stroke the hair of the doc- 
tor, dip the ends of their fingers in the blood and then touch the blood 
on their fingers to their tongues. This is done to give health to the 
body and strength of heart in time of battle. As the braves pass by 
ihim, the doctor recounts the brave deeds of each during the year, and 
to the bravest he designates the best squaw of the village to be his 
wife. If the father of the woman objects, he incurs the displeasure 
of all the braves of the village. During this dance of the braves the 
squaws have a dance of their own a little way off. 

In the fall of 1864, a party of six Arrapahoes went into the Ute 
country to steal horses. Being discovered and pursued by the Utes, 
they took refuge on a rocky bluff and there defended themselves for 
six days surrounded by' their pursuers. All this time they were with- 
out water. Finally they cut off their hair and tore up their blankets 
and made a rope, and on the night of the sixth day they let themselves 
down the bluff at an unguarded spot and escaped. The next spring 
at the Sun Dance, each of these six warriors was given a blooming 
squaw as a reward for his endurance and bravery. 

The time of the Sun Dance is a great occasion for the fathers to 
give their daughters in marriage. At this time he never sells his daugh- 
ter, but gives her to one who has distinguished himself for bravery. 

The usual way for a brave to get a wife is to buy her of her father. 


Having selected the squaw of his choice, he says nothing to her, but 
ties a pony at the lodge of the father, or makes a present of robes or 
some other article, according to his ability. If the gift is accepted, he 
has won his suit, but if the gift is untouched, he adds to his gift or 
tries for a wife at another place. When such a gift is accepted, the 
young brave claims his wife and no ceremony is needed. Should she 
object, her suitor has a perfect right to inflict such punishment on her 
as he may wish and no one raises an objection. In one of these tribes 
was a woman whose nose had been cut off by the man who had pur- 
chased her, because she refused to be his wife. Still she may leave 
him later for another if she chooses. Marriage ties are loose, and a 
brave may make love to a woman even in the presence of her husband. 

The food of the Indians is of the simplest. In kind, manner 
of cooking and serving it is generally repulsive in the extreme 
to a white man. On state occasions and at other great events the 
roast dog is the all important food. The dog is killed, when two 
squaws, one holding it by the hind feet and one by the head or fore 
feet, slowly turn its body over the fire till most of the hair is burned 
off. This is the only dressing it has, and it is then placed beside the 
fire to roast. In due time it is done, carved and served with due cere- 
mony. On ordinary occasions a very choice dish is a stew made 
of an unborn buffalo calf. Next to this in point of delicacy is a stew 
made of the entrails of any animal. When on the march or on the 
hunt, they would greedily devour the entrails raw, and also the liver, 
heart and the marrow from the bones. After a buffalo is killed, the 
first thing an Indian will generally do is to gorge himself with these 
delicacies, and he will quickly dispose of a surprising amount. 

Frogs, eaten raw and without any dressing, are an important article 
of diet. When in pursuit of a party of Cheyennes one day, we came 
to a ranch which they had just visited. The ranch was supplied with 
flour, beans, hardtack, sugar, coffee, etc., and the Indians considered 
the white man's food so much better than their own that they appro- 
priated these to their own use, and threw away a large number of 
frogs which they were carrying as food. 

Another dish that is much prized in winter is a stew made of 
dried crickets and dried cherries. At times in the summer or early 
fall, crickets are very plentiful. Then the squaws dig a hole in the 
ground that will hold perhaps a bushel or more. This done, they form 
in a circle some distance away and beat the grass with blankets, driv- 
ing the crickets inward to this hole, which is sometimes nearly filled 
as the result of a single drive. They are then easily placed in bags 
and dried for winter use. The dherries used are very small wild 

The staple food of the year, however, is the flesh of the buffalo. 


"Jerked" buffalo meat is prepared by cutting or tearing the flesh with 
the grain into thin strips and drying it in the sun. In this condition 
it is stored away for winter use, and eaten dry or cooked in various 
ways. One way is to beat it into a powder and make a soup of it, but 
eaten dry it is very palatable, as we can testify from experience. 

One cause of trouble between the white men and the Indian was 
the ruthless killing of the buffalo by the former. The Indian rarely 
killed one of these animals unless it was needed for food. In the fall 
of the year, before the buffalo migrated to the south, the Indians 
always had a great hunt, called the "surround," when large numbers 
were killed and their flesh dried and prepared for winter. Then the 
number killed was only limited to the ability of the squaws to care for 
the meat, for, however pressing the necessity, the men would sooner 
face starvation in the winter than assist in the preparation of the food. 
His duty ends when the game is killed, and while the squaw works he 
gorges himself. In this hunt, the Indians surround a small herd, 
which is soon on the run. Escape being cut off in every direction 
the buffalo are soon moving rapidly in a circle, the Indians on all sides 
moving with them, killing as they fly. This continues till a sufficient 
number are dispatched. Then the work of the squaws commences 
in preparing the meat for present or winter use, while the men gorge 
themselves with the raw liver or the marrow from the bones. 

The killing of these huge animals by the Indians with the arrow 
is a marvelous feat, requiring great skill and strength of arm. They 
usually discharge the arrow when but a few feet from the buffalo 
and must strike the liver or some other vital spot to kill. We read 
in one of our leading magazines not many months since of an Indian 
who sent an arrow entirely through a large buffalo and wounded an- 
other. Such a statement is simply ridiculous. We heard of one In- 
dian on the plains of such wonderful strength that an arrow fired by 
him protruded through the skin on the opposite side of the animal from 
the Indian, but that was considered a hunter's yarn. 

Smoking among the Indians is almost universal, but smoking 
alone, as the white man does, is comparatively unknown. Smoking is 
a social event with the Indian, and one pipe serves the entire party. 
Seated in a circle, as in all gatherings, even for a talk, a pipe is lighted 
and started on its journey. Each man in turn takes several long, 
strong pulls at the pipe and fills his lungs with the smoke, then passes 
the pipe to his left hand neighbor, and allows the smoke to work 
leisurely from his lungs through the nose. When the pipe has made 
the round, and reaches the last man in the circle, it is passed back, 
traveling from left to right to the starting point without being used, 
when it again starts on its round, traveling to the left as before. 

The pipe of peace has been known since the first white man 


landed on the shores of America, and it is still of importance in all 
councils between different tribes and nations, and between the Indians 
and the Whites. This pipe is usually one kept by each tribe for council 
purposes. It usually has a stem three feet long, and is very costly and 
elaborate, finished and ornamented in the highest Indian art. The 
bowl is made of various materials, but the Sioux of the North make 
theirs almost invariably from pipestone, obtained from the quarry in 
what is now known as Pipestone county, in the extreme western part 
of Minnesota. The Indians would travel hundreds of miles to obtain 
the red stone of this quarry for making their pipes. When first quar- 
ried, this stone can be worked with a knife or file, but hardens by ex- 
posure to the air. We have one such pipe in our collection of Indian 
relics. They have three or four kinds of pipes, including a medicine 
pipe to be used on various occasions. The material mostly smoked 
now is the white man's tobacco, because that is easily obtained, but 
formerly and to some extent now, the material smoked by the In- 
dians was kinnikinnick, made of the bark of the red willow. 

Scalping the victims of war is common with all tribes for two 
reasons: The possession of scalps is a proof of valor in obtaining 
them, and the scalping of an enemy means the annihilation of his soul. 
No Indian can enter the happy hunting ground that has been scalped, 
and this explains the fact that the bodies of those slain in battle are 
always, if possible, carried away by their fellow warriors. Indians will 
perform deeds of great daring to prevent the bodies of the slain from 
falling into the hands of the enemy, and thus prevent their being 
scalped and forever excluded from the happy hunting grounds. 

The burial of the dead varies with different tribes and different 
circumstances. Among the Sioux of Western Minnesota, those who 
aped the customs of the white buried their dead in the ground, but 
many continued as of old to dispose of their dead on platforms erected 
on poles, or placed in the branches of trees. When a suitable tree 
could not be found, stout poles were placed in the ground, and from 
five to eight feet above the ground, was made a platform, perhaps four 
feet wide by six or eight feet long. On this was placed the body, and 
beside it, such articles as he would need on his journey to the happy 
hunting grounds, or after having reached his long abode, such as 
articles of food, his implements of war or the chase, and in some in- 
stances, pots and kettles to use in preparing his food. 

It was on such a platform as this that a scalping knife and flint 
lock pistol, that now adorn my collection of Indian relics, were found. 
These places of burial were visited at night by the female relatives of 
the deceased, and a series of howls indulged in, in concert, as a means 
of expressing their sorrow. , 

During all our stay on the plains of western Kansas, we did not 


find a single burial place of the Indians. This is explained by the fact 
that the Indians of this section generally secreted their dead in some 
cavern or out of the way place, unknown to all except the two or 
three engaged in the disposal of the remains, and not disclosed by 
them. On the death of a warrior, all his effects were destroyed — tepee, 
blankets and war implements cut up, except the few buried with him, 
and even, in some cases, his ponies were killed. His face was generally 
painted, and without further ceremony, his body was thrown across 
the back of a pony or dragged ruthlessly over the ground to the place 
of burial. Here it was secreted, and all traces of the burial removed 
as far as possible, so that even the nearest relative did not know its 
last resting place. 

Poisoned arrows are sometimes used by these Indians. One 
method of poisoning the arrow points was to place a piece of raw liver 
before a rattlesnake, which was sure to bite anything within reach. 
The venom injected into the liver poisons the whole, and into this the 
points of a large number of arrows are thrust, and the blood from the 
liver dries on the arrow point but softens and becomes active, when it 
finds a place in the flesh of man or beast. When the poisoned liver 
is not needed for immediate use, it is dried, pulverized, and preserved 
in bags, and when needed is soaked in water, and in this the arrows 
are placed with the same result as when thrust into the soft liver. 
But the use of the poisoned arrows was not very common. 

While Col. Tamblyn and his battalion of four companies were 
making their way west over the plains, Col. C. A. R. Dimond, with 
his battalion of six companies, came down the Missouri river from 
Fort Rice, and other points on the Upper Missouri to Fort Leaven- 
worth and were mustered out of service. During all their stay at Fort 
Rice, Fort Benton, and other places, they had been surrounded by 
hostiles, who made constant warfare on them. Even fuel for the forts 
could not be cut except under the protection of a strong and vigi- 
lant guard. One day Lieut. Wilson was sent out from Fort Rice with 
the choppers. Sending his party ahead, he lingered in the fort till 
his party had reached a point perhaps a quarter of a mile or more from 
the post, when he started to overtake them. He had gained about 
half the distance between the post and his squad and was urging his 
horse forward, when suddenly, from a nearby thicket, came a flight 
of arrows. Lieut. Wilson fell dead, and the hostiles suddenly dis- 

A few days previous to this, two Indians were seen on a bluff near 
the fort making observations, and Col. Dimond sent out a party 
which surrounded and captured them. These Indians were in the 
guard house when Lieut. Wilson was killed. Immediately, on being 
informed of the death of Wilson, Col. Dimond sent word to these two 


Indians that they would die in one hour. The troops were assembled 
and marched to a bluff on the bank of the Missouri, near the fort, and 
here the two Indians were shot and their lifeless bodies thrown into 
the river. This was done as a retaliatory measure. 

We had at Pond Creek as Indian scout, guide and interpreter, a 
man known as Bill Comstock. He had spent his life in the Indian 
country and was thoroughly familiar with all the Plains Indians, was 
well versed in their habits and manner of life, and could speak the 
language of all, or at least by the use of the common sign language, 
could converse with the Indians of any tribe. One of the diversions 
of the camp was listening to his tales of experiences, his narrow escapes 
when acting as a scout in their country, of the scenes of horror he 
had witnessed, or that had come to his knowledge, and of their modes 
of life in their villages and their methods of warfare. In times of 
peace, he had lived for months in their villages, and had shared their 
hospitality, though he was known as their bitter enemy in times of 
war. The Indian nature is such that, when peace is made, the past is 
forgotten or forgiven. They come with perfect confidence and uncon- 
cern into the presence of those they have most wantonly wronged, and 
receive in like manner their worst enemy. 

Bill Comstock had a wonderful ability at trailing a party of In- 
dians or a single warrior. He could easily read all the "signs" left by 
them for the information of other Indians, could interpret the meaning 
of one, two or three columns of smoke used in telegraphing between 
different parties, and, after a party had passed, could tell with remark- 
able accuracy, by examining the trail, how many were in the party. 
Such a man was invaluable at any post, and he drew a liberal salary 
from the government for his services. 

On the Sand Creek battlefield in the extreme southwestern part 
of Kansas, we got many relics of Col. Chivington in his slaughter of 
the Indians. Col. Chivington was the governor of the territory of 
Colorado. The Indians committed some depredations and some mur- 
ders, when the colonel promptly organized a body of settlers as sol- 
diers, followed the Indians to their encampment at Sand Creek, came 
upon them unawares, and slaughtered many of them, some reports say, 
including men, women and children. The ground was covered with 
evidences of the fight. Col. Chivington was promptly removed for 
making war on the Indians without authority. 

The End 

Life at Pond Creek, after our second arrival there, was somewhat 
different from our stay there during the winter. It was now spring, 
and there was no necessity to reoccupy our winter quarters under 


ground for protection against the cold. Capt. Ball, on reaching this 
point in March, had reestablished the post some distance from the 
place Capt. McMichael and I, with our companies, had occupied before 
the post was evacuated. His position was, like ours, along the Smoky 
Hill creek, but on the open prairie, and the men and officers were all 
accommodated in tents. When I arrived with my company, our tents 
were pitched next to those standing, simply enlarging the camp. 

The Overland Dispatch company now sent an occasional coach 
over the line. Men and mules were again placed at some of the sta- 
tions that were abandoned the fall before, but this effort seemed to be 
done with much caution, and it was only at long intervals that stages 
arrived and not at all regularly, but in time they came about once a 
week, bearing the mails and a few passengers, that took their chance 
of being attacked by Indians. 

No Indians were seen in the vicinity of Pond Creek after our 
arrival there the second time. Where they were, no one knew, but 
the fact that no danger was seen made most people presume that 
none existed. Gradually the men extended their range on the prairie, 
hunting the buffalo or antelope, or the Jack rabbits, even in small 
parties. Beyond the inevitable camp guard, there were no military 
duties to perform, and if the men were present at roll call night and 
morning and ready to respond when details for guard were made in 
the morning, there were no restrictions on their movements. The con- 
sequence was that hardly a day passed that hunting parties did not 
sally forth to hunt, or amuse themselves shooting the prairie dog or 
killing the rattlesnakes, which were very numerous. 

Buffalo hunting was, of course, the chief amusement, and I took 
part in these hunts frequently. Some of my experiences in these trips 
I have spoken of elsewhere. There was another diversion which I 
had, and that was hunting for petrifactions and studying the works of 
the Indians when they were in undisputed possession of this country. 
The specimens of petrifactions found, of wood and bones, lying upon 
the surface of the ground, were many, and now grace my collection of 
curios, but, while the works and marks of the Indians were numerous, 
they were of such nature that they could not be brought away. I was 
especially interested in studying the rude carvings of the red men on 
•the chalk bluffs. Here were depicted, in the Indian's crude skill, scenes 
of the Chase and conflicts with the whites. They probably meant vol- 
umes to the artists who carved them, or to the Indians who saw them, 
but to the white man, not versed in Indian lore, much imagination and 
guessing were needed to divine their import. I attempted to cut 
away some of these specimens, as I considered them quite valuable if 
they could be preserved, but the chalk or slate on which they were 
engraved was too brittle, and every attempt only resulted in failure. 


About the middle of April I planned to make a visit to Denver 
on the next stage coach that should arrive, and had things in readi- 
ness for the trip, but, through a misunderstanding with the driver, 
this worthy drove off without me, and I consoled myself with the de- 
termination to go by the next coach that should come. This came 
about the first of May, and its mail brought orders for me to proceed 
with my company to Leavenworth for muster out, so my trip to Den- 
ver was abandoned. This was quite a disappointment, but was soon 
forgotten in making preparations for the march of four hundred fifty 
miles to Leavenworth. 

In the early days of May, 1866, I bade farewell to my friends of 
the Regular army, Capt. Ball and others with whom I had served 
pleasantly the last few months, and started east. The march was un- 
eventful. At Monument station my company was joined with that of 
Capt. Strout, and we proceeded together to Fort Fletcher. Here we 
joined the two companies there, and all proceeded under command of 
Col. Tamblyn to Leavenworth. On the way I joined in our last buf- 
falo hunt and rode alongside of an old bull which I helped dispatch, 
but our last meal of buffalo steak was so tough that it was not par- 
ticularly enjoyable. May 10th we reached Fort Riley, where a day's 
rest was enjoyed; and five days more of marching brought us to Fort 
Leavenworth, where a week was spent in making muster-out rolls 
and turning over our arms, camp and garrison equipments to the 
proper officers at the fort. May 22, I was mustered out of the service, 
got my final pay with allowance for travel to my home in Bristol, the 
place of my original enlistment. I also got transportation for myself 
and men to St. Louis, proceeding thence by boat, and there secured 
transportation for my men to their several places of abode in the 
southern states. These constituted my last official acts in the ser- 
vice, and I then found myself a free man, to go and come, not at the 
command of my superior officers, but as inclination dictated, after a 
service of three years and ten months in the army. 

These years had been momentous ones to me. When at school 
I had confidently expected to prepare for my life work at college, but 
I found myself graduating from the army instead. My education had 
not been attained by pouring over books, but had been practical dis- 
cipline of the army with its hardships and dangers. But there were 
no misgivings over the past. Indeed I had not seen a day when I 
regretted having placed my name on the enlistment papers, and home- 
sickness, which carried off many of my comrades, never troubled me 
for an hour. Besides, there was great satisfaction in knowing I had 
helped in the great work of preserving the Union. 

From St. Louis my trip east was made in company with Lieut. 
John P. Eaton. We traveled leisurely, spent a few days in St. Louis, 


Columbus, Ohio, at Niagara Falls, and other places. Before reaching 
the Falls we resolved that we would not be victimized by sharpers 
there. We had read too much about their ways to be caught, but at 
the end of our visit, as we recounted our experience there, we con- 
cluded that, however much we had known before reaching there, we 
knew much more when we left. 

At Niagara Falls I bade adieu to Lieut. Eaton and made the rest 
of my journey homeward alone. Here commenced a sense of loneli- 
ness that grew with the passing weeks, which was not even dispelled 
by the pleasure of mingling again in the home circle and with friends. 
The quiet of village life, with none of the excitement of the army with 
its every day duties, was oppressive, but family ties held me, and so I 
have passed my life, since my return from the army, in the place where 
I was born and where, all things considered, are more attractions than 
any other place on earth. 

As the years have rolled by, I have seen with increasing vividness 
that the sacrifice was not all made during the years of my service; but 
that the lack of a higher education was an effectual barrier against at- 
taining a higher position in life, and that, therefore, the effect of the 
sacrifice made in 1862 has been with me through life. 




A further word about father's life may not be amiss here. 

After returning from his war service of nearly four years, he was 
for two or three years in the wool business in Bristol, and in December, 
1870, opened a printing office in town. In June, 1878, he established 
the "Bristol Weekly Enterprise," which he edited continuously for 
thirty-six years, or until his decease. He served his town in various 
capacities — was for six years on the board of education of Union 
School district, six years town clerk, represented the town in the legis- 
lature of 1885, was author of the bill to provide for the publication of 
the "Register of New Hampshire Soldiers and Sailors, War of the 
Rebellion," represented the Fourth Senatorial district in the senate of 
1891-92, and was for forty-three years recording steward of the official 
board of the Methodist church, and chairman of the trustees of Minot- 
Sleeper library from the time of its organization till his death. For 
many years he was secretary, treasurer and a director of the Bristol 
Cemetery association. He was a Republican, Mason, Odd Fellow, 
and a member of the G. A. R. 

The work for which Captain Musgrove will be the longest re- 
membered in his own town is the History of Bristol, which he com- 
piled, and which was published in 1904, in two volumes, after a pains- 
taking research of twenty-five years. This history was published along 
original lines, departing somewhat from the character of most histories, 
and in comprehensiveness, depth of interest and accuracy, has been 
pronounced by good judges the best town history in the state up to 
that time. 

Reckoning the years spent in the war and the years given to the 
compilation of his history, it may truthfully be asserted that Captain 
Musgrove gave his whole life to the service of others, and there is no 
question in his case, as in the case of other G. A. R. men, that while 
he lived to a good old age, physical ills contracted in the service cut 
short his life by several years. Because of service rendered others, in- 
cluding sacrifices to his family, as the writer can testify, Captain Mus- 
grove did not accumulate wealth, but died with a name honored by 

At the altar of the old Methodist church on Spring street, Dec. 
23, 1869, his marriage to Henrietta Maria Guild, was solemnized by 
Rev. Newell Culver. She was born in Walpole Sept. 14, 1843, the 


daughter of Bbenezer and Sarah Maria (Brown) Guild. From girl- 
hood she was a music teacher and church organist and was very suc- 
cessful in training children for chorus singing. Like her husband, she 
gave generously of her time and talent, being a potent factor for many 
years in the development of the music of the town. Her love, devo- 
tion, and sacrifices, were not for the public alone, but together she and 
father labored for the good of the home, making it a blessing and in- 
spiration to their six children: Isadore Maria, Frank Abbott, Carrie 
Etta, Mary Donker, Anna Belle, and Eugene Richard. 

Father's life ended Feb. 19, 1914, and mother joined him May 6, 

They did their work well, and their lives inspired others to strive 
for achievement. 


Tributes From the Press 

The fellow publishers of Capt. Richard W. Musgrove bestowed 
many tributes to his memory. The following are extract's from edi- 
torial columns of the press: 

"Practically every newspaper man in the State and many outside 
send sympathy to the Musgrove family at Bristol. Capt. Richard W. 
Musgrove held the love and esteem of all the editors in the State as 
well as of a large circle of friends in other walks of life, and one and 
all regret his death, which occurred last week Thursday morning. As 
editor he was always fair to his readers, to the public and to his 
brothers in the profession. Genial and kindly in disposition, there was 
a manliness about him which commanded respect. A veteran of the 
Civil War and later as a soldier in the regular army in the Indian wars 
he was an influential member of the Grand Army. A consistent Chris- 
tian who lived his religion, he was a prominent member of the Metho- 
dist Church and influential in the councils of the denomination. His 
death removes a man whose place will not easily be filled." — Journal 

"New Hampshire Methodism lost one of its leading laymen in the 
death of Capt. Richard W. Musgrove. He was among New Hamp- 
shire's best known and most esteemed citizens, staunch in his character, 
faithful in every trust which was imposed upon him, loyal to family and 
to friends, and devoted to his church. . . . For many years he was 
the publisher of the New Hampshire Conference Minutes, and was a 
famil'iar figure at these gatherings, from which he will be missed as 
much as any member of the Conference. A true hearted Christian 
soldier has laid down his armor." — Zion's Herald. 


"The death of Captain Richard W. Musgrove, owner and founder 
of The Bristol, N. H., Enterprise, is a distinct loss to the newspaper 
fraternity throughout the state. He was a veteran of the 12th N. H. 
Regiment in the Civil War and was the highest type of a man and a 
citizen. Unassuming in manner, but dignified in bearing and deeply 
religious, he filled many positions of responsibility and will be greatly 
missed in his home town. Mr. Musgrove made his paper a power for 
good in the community and state and was always found working on 
the side of right. He was a valued member of the New Hampshire 
Weekly Publishers' association and attended its last meeting in Bos- 
ton in January. His cheery word of advice, pleasant smile and cordial 
greeting will be sadly missed at these gatherings in the future. He 
has answered his last roll call but the memory of his good deeds will 
never die." — Pittsfield Valley Times. 

"Probably there is not a newspaper man in the State but was gen- 
uinely saddened at the death of Oapt. Richard W. Musgrove, the dean 
of the newspaper fraternity, editor of the Bristol Enterprise and a 
grand man. Capt. Musgrove held a warm place in the esteem of his 
fellow publishers, and his memory will long live with them." — Coos 
County Democrat. 

"Though in his bearing and manners a dignified gentleman of the 
old school, he was thoroughly modern and wide-awake in his ideas 
and beliefs. A most delightful man. he was to meet. The writer has 
had many a pleasant chat with him at various press club meetings and 
gained a high regard for his honest, manly nature, and his frank, sin- 
cere open-mindedness. No newspaper man was held in higher esteem 
by the members of the fraternity than he; no one will be more sadly 
missed than he from the meetings of the New Hampshire Weekly Pub- 
lishers' association." — Somersworth Free Press. 

"Much has been written and said, and in part rightly, of the de- 
moralizing influence of war, of the young men whose lives are blighted, 
although they do not fall upon the field of battle or die in hospital. 
Undoubtedly there was such wreckage as an inevitable accomplish- 
ment of the great Civil War. But on the other hand that war was a 
school in which thousands of young men developed the best that was 
in them. McKinley was a conspicuous example, but there were thou- 
sands and hundreds of thousands of other young men, who, although 
they did not become Presidents, showed throughout long and useful 
lives as good citizens, the effect of those years of discipline. 

"Of these was Richard W. Musgrove, whose peaceful death in his 
home in Bristol has just been reported He had not been 


'spoiled' by the war. In time he founded the Bristol Enterprise and, as 
the years went by, made it a powerful influence for good in his com- 
munity and in his section of the state. Unassuming but dignified, con- 
sistently religious and sincerely conscientious, he did all that he could 
to make the world better and happier. Strong in his convictions, he 
was neither partisan in his politics nor bigoted in his faith. He filled 
with fidelity many positions of responsibility, was in all respects a 
worthy member of the community — an example of the splendid type 
of volunteer soldiers who returned from the Civil War to take their 
part in the activities of peace." — Manchester Union. 

"There comes a united expression of sorrow from the newspapers 
of the state at the announcement of the death of our fellow publisher 
and friend. ... A powerful pen, a rusting sword and a striking 
personality have been laid away; each, having served a loyal and faith- 
ful mission in their sphere of service, has gained a lasting memory 
among those who knew them best." — Farmington News. 

"It was with the keenest sorrow that the newspaper men of New 
Hampshire heard of the sudden death of Capt. R. W. Musgrove of 
Bristol last week, on the very day that his paper, the Bristol Enter- 
prise, went to press. Capt. Musgrove was the oldest man actively 
engaged in editorial duties in the state, but he was young in spirit and 
none enjoyed the outings of the N. H. Weekly Publishers' association 
more than he. He was a staunch defender of honesty, fairness and 
justice in politics, an able editor and a true friend. He was a gallant 
soldier during the Civil War and no less an unselfish patriot in later 
years. He will be greatly missed." — Rochester Courier. 

"In June, 1878, he founded the Enterprise, which under his guiding 
hand has since been among the most enterprising and influential weekly 
publications in the state. Honors fell thickly upon Mr. Musgrove's 
shoulders, and he bore them gracefully and filled the numerous posi- 
tions for which he was selected, competently. Captain Musgrove was 
a valiant soldier, a useful citizen, and belonged to the old school of gen- 
tlemen. Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove had come to be regarded as fixtures 
at the gatherings of the New Hampshire Weekly Publishers' associa- 
tion, and the presence of Mr. Musgrove will be keenly missed in the 
future. The sympathy of the association as a unit will go to Mrs. Mus- 
grove in the loss of her devoted companion." — Republican Champion. 

"For his kindly nature and loyalty to the true he will be missed by 
a state-wide circle of acquaintances." — Granite State Free Press. 



But little is known of the early life of James Musgrove, father of 
the late Capt. Musgrove. He was born in London, Eng., Dec. 13, 1798, 
and was probably not over six years old when his father, James, and 
Uncle John went to Calcutta, India, as custom house officers of the East 
India company, and young James was left to the care of his mother. Of 
school privileges he had but few, and for some reason there was little 
sympathy between him and his mother. He had, however, an "Aunt 
Fox," who took an interest in him, and from her he learned something 
of his family connections. If we recall the story correctly, he also 
learned much from a nurse after he had secured for her a generous 
amount of snuff. 

At the age of eight years he enlisted in the British navy for life, and 
in the capacity of a cabin boy he traveled to many parts of the world, 
his vessel taking part in the War of 1812 with the United States, and he 
was a prisoner of war at Philadelphia during the struggle. With his 
enlistment ended his school days, but tracts and other reading fell into 
his hands, besides his Bible, and he devoted his spare moments to im- 
proving his mind. As he grew older he began to realize the life of 
drudgery and toil that lay before him, with no chance to rise, and but 
little opportunity to improve his mind. The only hope before him was 
to desert the service, and this he felt justified in doing, considering his 
extreme youth when he enlisted. When he came to this conclusion he 
was about 16 years of age and an opportunity soon presented itself, of 
which he took advantage. His ship was at St. John, N. B., and he was 
on shore leave when he heard the ship's bell call everyone on board. 
He knew this meant that the ship was about to leave port, and a sudden 
impulse seized him. Now was his opportunity. Without a moment's 
hesitation he started to run in the opposite direction. Such was his 
eagerness that, while looking back for imaginary pursuers, he ran against 
a meeting-house instead of keeping the road. 

This was on the afternoon of Christmas day, but he at once took the 
first road that led to the country and trudged on till night overtook him. 
By this time he had reached a distance from town where houses were 
few, and he had forded one stream so that his clothes were wet nearly 
through. In this condition he was about to lie down on the snow to 
seek some rest when he saw a light in the distance. Encouraged to 
hope he might find hospitality there, he pressed on, and presented him- 
self at the door of a farmer. The family was enjoying its Christmas 


plum pudding, after the English fashion, but the lady of the house 
answered his call and, in response to his request for a night's lodging, 
invited him in. 

Then occurred an earnest conversation between the lady and her 
husband. "This fellow may be a deserter from some ship," said he, 
"and if we harbor him we may get ourselves into trouble." Finally they 
asked him squarely who he was, and why he was there at that time of 
night, when he made bold to tell them all. The lady said, after hearing 
his story, that deserter or no deserter she was not going to turn him out 
doors that cold night. The man, with downcast face, shook his head 
and said, "This may be bad business for us," and then moved off to join 
the festivities of the occasion, while the lady made haste to make a place 
for him at the table. 

The morning dawned, and after breakfast his case was again dis- 
cussed. "Well," said the wife, "his ship has gone and what good will it 
do to turn him out now?" and he, not knowing what else to do, re- 

How long he stayed there is not known, but some days, if not 
weeks; and then he returned to St. John to seek employment. Here he 
engaged himself to a merchant tailor to learn the tailoring trade. The 
time of his service was to be, as usual in those days, seven years. 

Here life was more tolerable than on ship-board. Though the lot 
of the apprentice was a hard one, he found friends, had an opportunity 
to read and study evenings and enjoyed the privileges of the church. 

After having spent four years at his new situation, he learned one 
day that the vessel from which he deserted was soon to revisit St. John. 
In this dilemma, he consulted his Irish fellow workmen and women, of 
whom there were quite a number, and their decision was that he must 
be packed off to Boston at once. Passage was secured in a vessel 
about to leave, and each contributed toward a stock of provisions for the 
trip, and he started for Boston. The vessel had hardly reached the out- 
side of the harbor, when an adverse wind blew it back. The young 
man's heart grew faint, especially when he heard an Irishman remark, 
"And faith, there must be a Jonah aboard." 

The third attempt was more successful, and the ship sailed on 
towards Boston with every prospect of a fair trip, until the neighbor- 
hood of the mouth of the Penobscot river was reached. Here the 
vessel was wrecked, and all hands took to the boats and succeeded in 
landing on the coast of Maine. 

Young James was now without money to prosecute his journey and 
had no earthly goods except the clothes he wore. He therefore resolved 
to continue his journey to Boston on foot, and at once started out. But 
little is known of the details of this trip, but it is remembered that in 
later life he often spoke of its hardships, how he trudged along the 


rough roads with blistered feet, and sought shelter at farmhouses or 
taverns and did work for his lodgings and meals. He loved to dwell 
on the kindness of one landlady, who kept him a week or more and 
would not allow him to resume his journey till his feet had healed, and 
then assisted him to some better shoes and stockings than those he had 

On reaching Boston, James let himself to a tailor and served three 
years to finish his trade, and must have worked there some years longer 
as a journeyman, when he returned to London, without change of name 
or attempting to cover up his identity; and he moved again in the same 
community he had left to enter the navy. 

Here he was thrown into the company of Ann Donker. They be- 
longed to the same tract society, sick society, and attended the same 
church. They were married Dec. 27, 1827, in Bethnal Green church. 
They continued to reside in London till September, 1832, when they 
went to Boston in a sailing vessel, arriving in October. They lived in 
Hanover St., Portland Place, about nine months, while Mr. Musgrove 
worked at No. 13 Court St. Then they moved to Charlestown, first 
living on High street, then on Bunker Hill in "Cook's" house near the 
nunnery, and were living there when the nunnery was burned by the 
mob. The light from the fire shone into their house. After three years 
there, they moved to Lynn, where they resided when the panic of 1837 
came. At that time he was thrown out of work, and so he advertised 
in the Zion's Herald for employment, or a place to engage in business. 
Among other letters was one from Haverhill, N. H., and one from N. 
S. Berry, Bristol. James Musgrove walked from Lynn to Haverhill, 
N. H., to see what the situation there was, and on his way back called 
at Bristol. Mr. Berry took him into his family and kept him a few days 
and induced him to locate here. 

His decision made, he returned on foot to his home, having first 
engaged a Mr. Bowers to go to Lynn with him with his team and bring 
his family and household effects here. When he reached Bristol with 
his family, they were entertained at Mr. Berry's home till they got set- 
tled in the Bradley house, where they lived till Mr. Musgrove built a 
house on North Main St., which still remains there. 

A persistent effort was made to drive Mr. Musgrove from town. 
Bristol had at that time a tailor who was intemperate, and his friends 
acted as a unit, apparently, to make life intolerable for the new tai- 
lor. His sign was taken down and thrown into the river.. When his 
house was nearing completion and one room was ready to use as a shop, 
his cow was shut up in this room over night. A number of men, Dr. 
Rufus Fellows, Richard Sawyer, and Levi Bartlett, were leaders in this 
movement, while N. S. Berry, Dr. Eaton, Reuben Bean, and others 


were just as diligent in befriending him. Dr. Eaton vacated the base- 
ment of his house, which stood where the Methodist church now 
stands, and located his office in one of his living rooms to make room 
for a shop for the new tailor when no one else could let him in. 

But these things wore away in time, and an upright life, fair deal- 
ing, and promptness in business won for him the respect and esteem of 
the entire community. Though not educated in the schools, he was a 
well-bred man, and in European history was considered the best in- 
formed man in town. 




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